In Washington state, more than 90 percent of babies have been breastfed at some point, but that quickly drops to about 67 percent at the six-month mark, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Those rates are lower for families eligible for the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program in Washington, with 89.2 percent of babies breastfed at birth, dropping to 50.7 percent at the six-month mark.
"I think a lot of our lower income moms have to go back to work really quick after the babies are born," says Kristine Brewer, WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Lead for the Spokane Regional Health District.
Despite state and federal protections for breastfeeding in the workplace, many moms may not be able to find the time or space to take breaks in private to pump milk, Brewer says.
"A lot of them are working at fast food or lower wage jobs where they don't even have a break room," Brewer says. "A lot of our moms actually pump in their cars. They actually feel like that's a safer place to do it than some of their workplace environments."
So to promote the health and cost benefits of breastfeeding, to offer moms support from WIC peer counselors and to generally celebrate breastfeeding, local moms and their infants are invited to attend the Big Latch On this Friday morning, Aug. 3. In events starting around 10:25 am at the downtown and north WIC offices, as well as the Valley office, moms are invited to feed their kids as part of the World Breastfeeding Week event, and get the chance to win a raffle and get gifts to help them with their early stages of motherhood.