With the world in the midst of a global pandemic, it is a good time to recognize the important role breastfeeding plays in protecting babies from germs all across the planet.

The Aitkin County WIC Program is celebrating Minnesota Breastfeeding Awareness Month throughout August. The theme for World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7, is “Support breastfeeding for healthier families, healthier communities, and a healthier planet.” The theme for Black Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 25-31, is “Revive, Restore, and Reclaim.”

As the world’s leading scientists race to find a COVID-19 vaccine, humans have their own, natural way of protecting the next generation. Moms, through breast milk, pass on helpful antibodies that fight germs.

Though it is too early to know for sure, researchers are finding evidence that moms who previously had COVID-19 may, through breast milk, pass on helpful antibodies that can fight the virus.

Parents may worry about the safety of breastfeeding during the pandemic. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding. In addition, researchers have not found the infectious virus in breast milk.

This year’s worldwide breastfeeding week also emphasizes how “green” and climate-friendly breastfeeding is. Human milk is a natural, renewable food produced and delivered to babies without pollution, packaging, or waste.

Aitkin County supports breastfeeding through the WIC Program and community outreach. Aitkin WIC has four certified lactation specialists on staff and a WIC peer breastfeeding support program.

WIC Coordinator Liz Short states, “During this pandemic, breastfeeding continues to be sustainable, safe, and has far reaching positive health benefits for mom and baby. When mom and baby do better, we all do better.”

For more information or breastfeeding support contact Liz Short, PHN, WIC coordinator and peer breastfeeding coordinator at 218-927-7267.

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