Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

August 6, 2013

Free token of thanks for moms

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — A free token of thanks is coming to one group of Garvin County area mothers as a way to promote a week focusing attention on breastfeeding babies.

Health officials here are planning the gift giving because of what’s called World Breastfeeding Week wrapping up on Wednesday.

To help promote the week the Garvin County Health Department will give out small gifts to mothers who breastfeed from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8 at its site in Pauls Valley.

The campaign is being done in concert with the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s WIC program, which stands for Women, Infants and Children.

“We’re having something special that day in Pauls Valley,” said Sherri Hartzell, a registered dietitian.

“We’re giving all exclusively breastfeeding moms a gift to say thank you for breastfeeding their babies,” she said.

“It can be any breastfeeding moms and not just those in WIC.”

The gifts are described as “nothing fancy” but still needed items for moms, such as breastfeeding pads, lotion and coupons for other baby care products.

According to Hartzell, the idea behind the special promotion is also to offer a little support to those moms who breastfeed their babies.

“We’re trying to encourage moms to exclusively breastfeed,” she said. “There are a lot of benefits to baby and mom to breastfeeding.”

The promotion has a direct link to Hartzell’s job as she is among those working to educate people about healthier lifestyles at health departments in Garvin, Murray, Stephens and Grady counties.

Part of her job through the WIC program is to educate women on the positives of breastfeeding their babies.

“We’re here to help out women and educate them on the benefits of breastfeeding,” Hartzell said, adding all health department nurses are also certified in breastfeeding education.

Hopes are activities like Thursday’s gift giving will also raise awareness about the importance of actively supporting mothers to continue to breastfeed for at least the baby’s first year and beyond.

Hartzell says research shows there are many long-term health benefits for infants who are exclusively breastfed for six months or longer, such as reducing the chances of obesity and diabetes.

“Since it’s world breastfeeding week we thought we would help out these moms.”

Hartzell encourages anyone to find out more about breastfeeding by calling the health department at 405-238-7346.