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Initiative focuses on promotion of breast-feeding

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The new Adopting Healthy Habits Breast-Feeding Initiative aims to help groups and businesses create policies and environments to make breast-feeding easier in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

Although overseen by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, the initiative is funded by the North Country Prenatal/Perinatal Council. Amanda R. Root, resource educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, said $1,500 is available to fund five to 15 mini-grants.

“Part of the work that we’ve been doing is to create healthier communities,” she said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, babies and their mothers benefit from breast-feeding. Breast milk is easier for babies to digest, and “cells, hormones, and antibodies in breast milk protect babies from illness.”

The Office of Women’s Health also said that breast-feeding brings a mother closer to her baby and that it can help mothers save money that otherwise would be put toward formula.

A call to the North Country Prenatal/Perinatal Council seeking comment was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Adopting Healthy Habits Breast-Feeding Initiative grants seek to support ways to promote breast-feeding; advocate medical provider education, such as ensuring clinicians do not serve as advertisers for infant formula; support programs to offer solutions to obstacles to breast-feeding in the workplace, and to help communities create spaces that make breast-feeding comfortable and convenient and create an atmosphere of breast-feeding as the normal method of infant feeding.

The North Country Prenatal/Perinatal Council was the first Adopting Healthy Habits partner to put money forward to focus on a specific initiative. Mrs. Root said more partners are welcome to help north country communities become healthier.

For more information on the initiative or to apply for a mini-grant, call Mrs. Root at 788-8450 or send her an email at arr27@cornell.edu.

More information on breast-feeding may be found on the Office of Women’s Health website, www.womenshealth.gov/breast-feeding.

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