The Sacramento County Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program
has received a WIC Breastfeeding Gold Award of Excellence 2021 award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This award recognizes the WIC agencies that provide exceptional breastfeeding promotion and support activities. Awardees serve as a model for other WIC agencies who want to strengthen their breastfeeding promotion and support activities through their Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program.
The Sacramento County WIC Program has a history of program excellence. The Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program first received this award in 2016, which remained current for four years. In 2021, Sacramento County WIC was only one of four local WIC agencies to receive the award in the western region, which includes Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa.
The Sacramento County WIC Program was able to pivot quickly when the pandemic started in 2020, finding new ways to connect with families remotely by providing services by phone and video. One of the highlights of the BFPC Program is its virtual prenatal class, which gives participants an opportunity to meet their Peer Counselor and a Lactation Consultant who will be supporting them after delivery.
“Our Breastfeeding Peer Counselors have done a wonderful job being responsive to the changing needs of the families we serve throughout this pandemic, providing exemplary services while keeping families and kids safe and healthy,” said Chevon Kothari, Director of the Sacramento County Department of Health Services. “Their passion and dedication to supporting our families is exemplary and is what made receiving this award possible.”
Breastfeeding is a practice that is proven to benefit both mothers and babies. It helps mothers recover more quickly form childbirth, reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers and may assist in losing weight after childbirth. Infants who are breastfed have a lower risk of developing asthma, ear infections, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections and other ailments. The long-term benefits of breastfeeding may lower the child’s risk of obesity, type 1 diabetes and childhood leukemia. Breastmilk contains all the nutrients babies need to grow and protects the baby’s immune system.