By Dana Kazel
For the second consecutive year, St. Louis County Public Health has received a Breastfeeding Friendly Award from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) in recognition of its work to improve the health of mothers and their babies.
This year, St. Louis County earned a higher level award, improving from bronze to silver status.
The designation acknowledges a county health department’s commitment to acting as a model for the community by supporting healthy families and receiving the business benefits of supporting nursing mothers.
MDH recognizes county health departments, workplaces, maternity centers and child care facilities that have demonstrated their commitment to supporting breastfeeding mothers.
Breastfeeding is a foundational way to ensure that babies receive optimal nutrition during the first formative years of life. Studies show that infants who are breastfed have better health outcomes as they grow.
“Supporting mothers who want to breastfeed is kind of a no-brainer. It’s a healthy thing to do, with numerous benefits for both mom and baby. So we’re happy to do this work and are honored to receive this award” said Amy Westbrook, Public Health division director. “We have a longstanding commitment to supporting breastfeeding mothers in our community and are dedicated to on-going excellence and look forward to apply for Gold level designation next year.”
Awards are designated at gold, silver and bronze levels, which correspond to the number of steps an organization met in a 10-step process.
MDH’s Breastfeeding Friendly recognition program is supported by the state Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP).