The Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition, in partnership with the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County, wants to reassure new and soon-to-be moms and their families in the Florida Keys that there is free breastfeeding support, including in this time of crisis.
Exclusive breastfeeding offers nutritional benefits for the baby and benefits for moms.
In addition to providing ideal nutrition, six months of exclusive breastfeeding protects against common childhood illnesses and boosts the immune systems of both mother and baby. This is especially important this year in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic.
Breastfeeding also improves bonding between mother and baby, decreasing instances of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including postpartum depression. The WHO and CDC recommend that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development, and health.
Common barriers to breastfeeding success include lack of education and lack of support. Free resources are offered locally. For example, breastfeeding positions brochures are offered at no cost to new moms and can serve as a simple and useful guide to help moms of newborns with their early breastfeeding experiences. Brochures are provided in English and Spanish. These and other outreach initiatives will be supplemented by existing Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition services and resources, including breastfeeding education and support provided by an internationally board certified lactation consultant, provision of baby beds and pack ’n’ plays through the Keys to Kids Safety program, and close working partnerships with WIC, local hospitals, and medical providers.
More information is available from the Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition at 305-293-8424 or WIC at the Florida Department of Health at 305-293-7500.