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Allegheny Health Department rewards efforts to accommodate nursing moms

Mary Pickels
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Finding a place to breast feed their infants can be stressful for nursing mothers, whether they have returned to work, are shopping, or taking older children to a park or play date.

In an effort to encourage extra efforts in welcoming and supporting nursing mothers, the Allegheny County Health Department, in cooperation with the Women, Infants and Children Breastfeeding Program, is seeking nominations for its annual Breastfeeding Friendly Places Awards.

According to a release, the awards go to workplaces, public places, and other sites away from home who best accommodate those women and their babies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least the first six months, if possible.

Recent surveys indicate the number of babies breastfed in Pennsylvania for at least six months is 48 percent, compared to 52 percent nationwide, the release states.

“It’s encouraging to see that the number of nursing mothers in our state that breastfeed for six months or longer is increasing. We know that the availability of breastfeeding-friendly locations can support breastfeeding, which has great benefits for moms and babies,” health department director Dr. Karen Hacker says in the release.

“We want to encourage organizations to take the initiative to develop breastfeeding friendly environments,” she says.

Flextime or extended paid maternity leave, health plans with breast pump coverage, work site day care and provisions for breastfeeding at work are all among benefits employers can consider.

Public sites can provide attractive, clean, private areas with comfortable seating for nursing mothers, the release suggests.

Nominations can be made to the WIC program until May 22. Winners will be announced during World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7.

Details: 412-350-4637 or achd.net/bfa/

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or [email protected] or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

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