Get Healthy Carson City: August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal’s Tuesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

“Breastfeeding, with its many known health benefits for infants, children, and mothers is a key strategy to improve public health. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months with continued breastfeeding alongside introduction of complementary foods for at least 1 year.”

The Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recently published the United States 2016 Breastfeeding Report Card. This Report Card is a collection of data on breastfeeding practices and support from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

The Report Card shows 82.6 percent of Nevada infants have “ever breastfed” which is above the National average of 81.1 percent. Ever breastfed includes any infant who has received breast milk at least once, either directly from the breast or by expressed breast milk feeding. In Nevada, the rate of infants who received any amount of breast milk drops to 49.5 percent at 6 months and 31 percent at 12 months. The Report Card concludes that most mothers in the U.S. want to breastfeed and are trying to do so. This drop in the rates suggest that mothers may not be getting the support they need from integral places, such as healthcare providers, family members, and employers. The full report can be found at

The first few months of breastfeeding can be a worrisome time for new moms. Below are some tips on how to get breastfeeding off to a great start for both mom and baby:

Right after baby is born encourage lots of skin to skin contact. Skin to skin contact has been shown to regulate the heart rate, temperature, and breathing of baby. Dad feeling left out? Skin to skin is a great way for dad to get involved after baby is born.

It’s best to breastfeed within the first hour after birth. Remember that baby has a tiny tummy right now and will want to breastfeed frequently or cluster feed, wanting to nurse every hour for a few hours in a row.

Once mom’s milk comes in, usually days 2-5, baby should have 5-6 wet diapers in 24 hours. This is great indicator that baby is getting enough milk.

Try to relax! Take this time to bond with your baby and reach out for support if needed. Attend a local breastfeeding support group, find breastfeeding support pages on social media, or call your local WIC office for more information on where support can be found in the area.

In case you did not know, Carson City Health and Human Services (CCHHS) manages two Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinics in Carson City and Gardnerville. WIC is a supplemental nutrition and education program helping income eligible pregnant and postpartum moms, infants, and children up to the age of five. WIC is promoting and encouraging breastfeeding mothers to sign up for PACIFY - an app designed to support breastfeeding parents 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. PACIFY connects the mother immediately to a video-enabled call with a lactation consultant to answer questions and provide support and information. For more information on PACIFY, please call your local WIC clinic:

Carson City Health & Human Services - WIC — 900 E. Long St., Carson City, 775-887-2190. Clinic hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.

Douglas County WIC — 1329 Waterloo Lane, Gardnerville, on the south side of the Douglas County Community and Senior Center, 775-782-9038, ext. 2. Clinic hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.

Also, CCHHS is building an incentive program for breastfeeding WIC participants. This program will include recognition for mothers breastfeeding beyond one month, three months, six months, and to a year. Mothers can find additional breastfeeding encouragement through the breastfeeding support group available at both WIC clinics. Furthermore, CCHHS is assisting employers with providing a safe, clean environment for breastfeeding employees and customers to use to breastfeed or express breast milk.

Breastfeeding support and WIC services are just two areas CCHHS is here for the community. For additional information about Health Department services, check out our website at or visit us at


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