A group of people is forming a breastfeeding coalition chapter in St. Charles County to try to address the barriers that keep women from breastfeeding.
“In St. Charles County we’ve got so many young families,” Johanna Iwaszkowiec, a certified lactation counselor, said. “It seems sort of like a no-brainer that we’d do a little bit better with supporting breastfeeding.”
The first meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Oct. 14 at Kathryn Linnemann
Library in St. Charles. Light refreshments, giveaways and networking will be part of the evening.
The coalition is targeted at professionals, government officials, healthcare workers, social service workers and others who work with breastfeeding women.
“We know that we do have some really good resources in St. Charles County,” Iwaszkowiec said. “We’ve got support groups that are going on, we’ve got breastfeeding-friendly physicians but we’re not referring to each other and we don’t even know what the other is doing. This is a way to network and make our referrals a little bit more effective.”
A St. Louis breastfeeding coalition has been around since 1989, but members noticed that not many people from St. Charles County could make the drive to the meetings.
Iwaszkowiec said the most recent data shows that the percent of women who initiate breastfeeding in St. Charles County is high, but the percent of women who continue to breastfeed for the recommended length of time, and to breastfeed exclusively, has dropped off.
“That’s what we’re looking at, trying to find out where those messages are getting lost that the recommended length of time is six months exclusively,” she said.
She said the core group who is organizing the new chapter has begun brainstorming projects.
“We’ve got some ideas for things we’d like to see happen,” she said. “Physician outreach, fundraising, reaching out to businesses to help them understand it’s not just about this benefit to employees, it also benefits their bottom line as well.”