Babies have a place at the fair, too

Published 1:00 pm Thursday, August 1, 2013

Booth highlights breastfeeding

Freeborn County Public Health officials and other community members are hosting a booth at the Freeborn County Fair this week to show support for breastfeeding women.

The booth — in the Commercial Building — will highlight the efforts made locally to promote and encourage support for breastfeeding as part of World Breastfeeding Awareness Week.

“I think attitudes are changing,” said public health nurse Cindy Gaudian.

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Cheryl Lonning, also a public health nurse, said there are many benefits to breastfeeding infants: health, convenience, cost-effectiveness, relaxation and bonding, among others.

Lonning and Gaudian are part of the Freeborn County Breastfeeding Coalition. They said support for breastfeeding mothers and children should come from many places: family members, friends, employers, child care providers, health care providers and the general public.

They agreed the fair is a good location to connect with the public.

“It’s a wonderful place to reach a lot of people,” Lonning said.

In Freeborn County, there are programs to help expecting and new mothers.

The Breastfeeding Coalition, which is made up of public health representatives, hospital staff and community members, meets twice a month, and there is a peer breastfeeding support program that started in 2011. It served 178 women in 2012.

The Public Health Department offers breastfeeding classes during the day and in the evening eight times a year and offers help to any mother and baby in the county.

It offers assistance to businesses looking to support breastfeeding employees. In addition, there are lactation specialists who offer expertise.

According to a news release, a majority of mothers in Minnesota breastfeed; however, many stop breastfeeding earlier than planned or do not breastfeed at all because they face barriers that keep them from achieving their goals. Support can reduce those barriers and help mothers achieve their goals, the release stated.

Lonning and Gaudian said the coalition plans to recognize three different worksites for their support of breastfeeding: Freeborn County, the Freeborn County Fair and Albert Lea Select Foods.

This will be the second year there will be a private room at the Fairlane Building at the Freeborn County Fair in which mothers can breastfeed.

To contact the Freeborn County Breastfeeding Coalition, call Lonning at 383-5873 or Gaudian at 473-5255.