Recapping World Breastfeeding Week at the N.C. Women's Hospital

On Tuesday, Aug. 4, UNC Women’s Services celebrated World Breastfeeding Week to raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding. To highlight the importance of balancing work and family life for mothers around the world, this year’s campaign focused on the theme, “Let’s Make it Work!”

Recapping World Breastfeeding Week at the N.C. Women's Hospital click to enlarge Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute, Gillings School of Public Health
Recapping World Breastfeeding Week at the N.C. Women's Hospital click to enlarge WakeMed Mothers' Milk Bank

World Breastfeeding Week was established by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action in 1993 to organize global action and support women to integrate work and breastfeeding. Last Tuesday, for the first time, eight department and community organizations joined UNC’s World Breastfeeding Celebration fair in the N.C. Women’s Hospital lobby. According to Diane Asbill, a Lactation Program Coordinator of UNC Lactation Services, the purpose of the event was to advocate for working mothers and share how breastfeeding provides better health benefits and work benefits for mothers, babies and employers.

Each program that participated exhibited a variety of breastfeeding education and support services for mothers and families in the Triangle area. 

“The majority of women work today and it’s important to find ways for them to both be a mom and work," said Catherine Sullivan, of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute. "We’re here to help promote that.”

UNC Health Care has been implementing new resources for employees to make their jobs easier as mothers and colleagues, said Dianne Olmos, supervisor of Employee Recreation and Wellness. In 2013, as she was pumping for her youngest child and struggling to find an empty room, she began working with Plant Engineering to develop a plan to increase the number of lactation rooms and renovate the current spaces.

"Although I wasn't able to use the beautiful rooms that we've created since 2013, I love that other working moms can now benefit," Olmos said. 

Today UNC Hospitals has 10 designated lactation rooms with another three spaces and two renovations in process. 

Facts and Benefits of Breastfeeding:

  • Children who are breastfed have a lower rate of obtaining certain illnesses as they grow up.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risks of ear infections, diarrhea, and stomach viruses, severe respiratory infections, asthma, obesity, diabetes, SIDs and more.
  • Breastfeeding saves money. Infant formula costs between $1160 to $3915 per year. Breastfeeding allows the mother’s body to recover from pregnancy and childbirth more quickly.
  • Breastfeeding protects mothers form health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and osteoporosis.
  • Parents of breastfed babies miss less work because their babies are healthier than formula-fed babies. 
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