This team of representatives from multiple organizations worked together to encourage breastfeeding support throughout Coffey County. (L-R) Jenifer Hugunin, Coffey County Health Department; Melissa Hall and Michelle McVey, Coffey County Hospital; Clarissa Sents, Coffey County/KSA Extension Office; Tina Withers, Coffey County Health Department; Brenda Bandy, Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition; Stacy Augustyn, Coffey County Hospital, and Lyon County representatives Janine Messersmith and Bevin Neeley.
Breastfeeding Coalition recognizes Coffey County
Coffey County recently received the “Community Supporting Breastfeeding” designation from the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition, Inc.
Coffey County is one of the first communities to receive this designation for having built a culture of breastfeeding support. The designation was presented by Brenda Bandy, executive director of the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition, at the February 27 meeting of the Coffey County Commission.
The Coffey County Hospital obstetrics department, Coffey County Medical Center, and Coffey County Health Department actively worked together to build a network of support for breastfeeding families.
In addition, local businesses pledged their support to mothers needing to nurse in public, employers support their breastfeeding employees, and childcare providers support their breastfeeding families.
Pointing out that many nursing mothers abandon breastfeeding when faced with obstacles, Bandy said, “Coffey County has woven a net of support through which no mother will fall.”
She cited research showing the importance of breastfeeding support throughout the community, not in just the health department or hospital. Adequate support for breastfeeding benefits the community beyond the families.
A strong network also leads to a stronger economy and healthier environment through savings in healthcare expenses, increased family connection, and reduced post-consumer waste from formula tins. It is estimated that Kansas could save $120 million in healthcare costs––and prevent an excess of eight deaths per year––if 90 percent of Kansas families breastfed exclusively for six months.
“We want to shine the spotlight on communities who are making it easier for mothers to meet their breastfeeding goals and serving as an example to other communities in Kansas to follow suit,” says Martha Hagen, Kansas state breastfeeding coordinator.
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