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Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 17
Hungry babies, happy moms
BY AMY ASMAN
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is really good at teaching new mothers how to breastfeed. That’s according to the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and the International Lactation Consultant Association, which recently recognized the department for excellence in lactation care.
Winners of this award have a high number of professionally certified staff, as well as superior access to breastfeeding programs and activities that help protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.
In Santa Barbara County, the Public Health Department and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a source of breastfeeding information and support. According to the department, a lack of breastfeeding can lead to more ear infections, colds and flu, asthma, allergies, obesity, diabetes, and other health-related issues.
The department’s breastfeeding program offers numerous resources to mothers during pregnancy and following birth. One of the most revolutionary is the “BFed” texting program, which allows mothers to text questions about breastfeeding to peer counselors.
Program coordinator Meg Beard starting researching the learning habits of “Gen Y” mothers a couple of years ago. She noticed that instead of listening to a teacher in a classroom, “they like to talk to their friends, text, and blog.”
In addition to two-way texting, new mothers get two texts a week educating them about their child’s stage of development and how that relates to breast-feeding.
The program has close to two-dozen lactation educators who provide basic support, and five internationally board-certified lactation consultants who complete high-risk assessments and follow-ups. All staff is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Managing Editor Amy Asman wrote this week’s Community Corner. Information should be sent to the Sun via mail, email, or fax.