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Breastfeeding Support Program Honored

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The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program at Antelope Valley Hospital has been honored with a Loving Support Award of Excellence for its exemplary breastfeeding support and practices. The national award is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to recognize top-performing peer counselor programs.

The AVH WIC peer counselor program was started over six years ago. Breastfeeding peer counselors, or "breastfeeding coaches," at AVH have a caseload of mothers that they see throughout their pregnancy to provide prenatal breastfeeding education. Once the mother has delivered, her coach is available for continuing education, support and assistance. The one-on-one relationship that is developed is a vital part of the peer counselor program. An international board-certified lactation consultant oversees the program and serves as a resource for the breastfeeding coach and higher risk mothers and babies.

"The goal of our program is to encourage and support pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers," said Pamela Stanley, director of the AVH WIC program. "Breast milk contains all the vitamins and nutrients babies need in the first six months of life and is packed with disease-fighting substances that protects babies from illness. We are incredibly honored to be recognized for supporting mothers and babies and encouraging good health in our community."