Moms Who Breastfeed Are Celebrated During National Breastfeeding Month

 During World Breastfeeding Week, which runs from August 1 through 7, and National Breastfeeding Month, in August, the Westchester County Department of Health recognizes the public health contribution of breastfeeding mothers, and the necessary support of employers.

Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, said: “I encourage all new mothers to give breastfeeding a chance because breast milk is best for baby, and new legislation now offers even more support to working mothers who continue to breastfeed. Breast milk provides antibodies that can protect infants from diseases before they are fully vaccinated. It can reduce their risk of Sudden Infant Death and their risk of obesity later in life, and it also has health benefits for mothers.”

This year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme is “Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a Difference for Working Parents.”

In June, new state legislation took effect that requires employers to provide private, hygienic and convenient places for nursing employees to pump breast milk, and to provide a written policy to employees about their right to express breast milk at work. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends infants breastfeed exclusively until they are six months old, and encourages parents who continue to breastfeed after solid foods are introduced at six months to continue for up to two years or more, as long as it is mutually desired by mother and child.

Through its Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Health Department supports mothers who breastfeed by providing them with breast pumps, additional nourishing food, and the help of certified lactation counselors and peer counselors. Currently, 127 WIC moms are exclusively breastfeeding and 500 are partially breastfeeding.

To promote the important benefits of breastfeeding and to honor its exclusively breastfeeding WIC moms, the Westchester County Health Department WIC program is collecting photos of WIC moms breastfeeding, along with statements about what breastfeeding means to them. These photos will be shared in the County’s WIC clinics to recognize breastfeeding families and encourage continued breastfeeding. The WIC Program has three peer counselors on staff to support the individual breastfeeding needs of participants, and the agency hosts classes twice a month in English and Spanish to share information on breastfeeding.

Westchester WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator Celine De Tosellet-Perez said: “Our breastfeeding mothers are more inclined to continue breastfeeding in the early postpartum period and beyond when they have access to lactation and peer counselor support services. WIC establishes this support as early as the prenatal period to promote breastfeeding as the optimal way to nourish infants.”

Amler also recognized the support local hospitals give new mothers as they begin breastfeeding and encouraged community support for mothers who continue to breastfeed as their babies grow.

Benefits to babies who receive their mother’s milk:

  • fewer ear infections, respiratory infections and digestive infection;
  • lower risk of developing diabetes or cancer;
  • reduced risk of developing asthma and allergies;
  • less likely to be obese later in life; and
  • less likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Benefits to women who breastfeed their infants: 

    • recover faster after birth and tend to lose pregnancy weight faster;
    • less likely to develop diabetes;
    • reduced risk for breast and ovarian cancer;
    • less stress and reduced risk of postpartum depression;
    • enhance their bond with their baby through skin-to-skin touching and eye contact that is shared during breastfeeding;
    • save time: breast milk is always ready;
    • save money by not buying formula.

More information on breastfeeding is available at