Houston Health Department
Houston Health Department celebrates Breastfeeding Awareness Month, promotes WIC benefits
August 6, 2019
HOUSTON - The Houston Health Department WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program highlights the many great health benefits of breastfeeding this August, National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.
The health department provides breastfeeding support, nutritional education, referrals and nutritious foods to approximately 54,000 qualifying Houston and Harris County families each month through its WIC program.
“This year’s National Breastfeeding Awareness Month theme, ‘Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding,” is the perfect message to highlight the important contributions mothers and fathers play in their baby’s health,” said Zahra Koopaei, Houston Health Department WIC bureau chief. “We encourage families who need assistance on their breastfeeding journey to contact our WIC program to see if they qualify for our free breastfeeding support services and other WIC benefits.”
Approximately 77% of women enrolled in WIC during their pregnancy who receive breastfeeding education chose to breastfeed their infants, compared to 57% of women who were not enrolled in WIC prenatally.
Breastfeeding is recommended exclusively for the first six months of a child’s life and has health benefits for baby and mom.
Infants who are breastfed have reduced risks of:
- Ear and respiratory infections
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Gastrointestinal infections (diarrhea/vomiting)
Breastfeeding can help lower a mother’s risk of:
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Ovarian cancer
- Breast cancer
WIC also educates families on Texas law, which allows women to breastfeed anywhere in public. In 2019, a new law was passed allowing women in Texas to also pump breast milk anywhere in public.
Certified lactation consultants and peer counselors are available at the Texas Lactation Support Hotline, 855-550-6667, to answer questions about breastfeeding. The 24/7 helpline receives approximately 150 calls per week.
To learn more about Houston Health Department WIC, call 832-393-5427 or visit HoustonHealth.org. The Houston Health Department does not collect information about immigration status.