Monmouth ACTS Celebrates Breastfeeding Awareness Month with Events for Families
“If breastfeeding did not already exist, someone who invented it today would deserve a dual Nobel Prize in medicine and economics” ~ Keith Hansen, World Bank (2016)
FREEHOLD, NJ – Monmouth ACTS (Assisting Community Through Services), a public-private partnership initiated by the Monmouth County Commissioners to better serve residents, will celebrate World and National Breastfeeding Awareness Month in August by sponsoring several events for families to increase awareness of the importance and benefits of breastfeeding.
“According to La Leche League, breastfeeding is an instinctual and natural act, but it is also an art that is learned day by day,” says Colleen Nelson, Co-Chair of Monmouth ACTS Early Childhood Success Hub. “To reach their breastfeeding goals, mothers need worksite accommodations, consistent and collaborative breastfeeding education and services, and support from family, friends, lactation consultants, peer counselors and other breastfeeding champions along the way. We’re excited to spread awareness and bring these helpful events to the community during Breastfeeding Awareness Month.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that only 27.7% of infants born in New Jersey in 2017 were exclusively breastfed through six months of age. The U.S. Healthy Families 2030 goal for the nation is to increase the percentage of infants who are breastfed exclusively – meaning breastmilk only, and no solid food, water, or other liquids – through six months of age to a target of 42.4%.
Monmouth ACTS’ leadership is eager to support education and services that can help Monmouth County mothers reach this goal, since studies show that a mother’s breastmilk is the perfect food for her baby. According to Cleveland Clinic, breastmilk contains all the nutrients, antioxidants, enzymes and antibodies a baby needs, and breastfeeding can reduce the risk for childhood illnesses including colds, asthma, ear infections, pneumonia, diabetes, leukemia and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Additionally, the Office of the Surgeon General has found that breastfed infants are less likely to become obese in the future, and mothers who breastfeed have less risk to develop breast and ovarian cancers.
“I’m excited to see Monmouth County government and community agency partners work together in the spirit of Monmouth ACTS to host workshops on this important topic,” says Monmouth County Commissioner Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley. “These workshops, called ‘You Can Be A Breastfeeding Champion,’ will highlight champions including mothers who are breastfeeding now or have in the past, resource people such as lactation consultants or counselors, and even family and friends.”
The workshops will allow attendees to ask questions and hear testimonies from local breastfeeding mothers like Jacquelyn Shriver, who is currently breastfeeding her 9-month-old daughter and also breastfed her son until he was 11 months old.
“Breastfeeding is like a new job,” Jacquelyn explains. “It’s hard in the beginning. It gets easier with practice. And you don’t dare quit because you’ll miss out on all the rewards.”
- “Be a Breastfeeding Champion” Virtual Event – August 12 from 5-6:30 p.m.
- Monmouth County Council for Young Children (CCYC) Breastfeeding Event cohosted by Neighborhood Connections to Health – August 17 from 4-5:30 p.m. at Veterans Park in Freehold
- Monmouth CCYC Breastfeeding Event cohosted by Bradley Beach Library – August 18 from 3-4:30 p.m. at Bradley Beach Library Lawn
- Breastfeeding event – August 20 at noon at Community Affairs & Resource Center (CARC) Farmers Market in Asbury Park
- Breastfeeding event – August 26 at noon at Community Affairs & Resource Center (CARC) in Lakewood
“I’m proud of the great programming that is consistently put together by the Early Childhood Success Hub,” says Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone. “It’s amazing to see the number of organizations that came together to plan these important events.”
Participating Community Partners include Visiting Nurse Association Health Group, Monmouth and Ocean County Councils for Young Children, Community Affairs & Resource Center (CARC), Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, & Children (WIC), Bradley Beach Library, Child Care Resources, Neighborhood Connections to Health Coalition, Nurse Family Partnership, Children’s Home Society and Hackensack Meridian Family Health Center.
About Monmouth ACTS
Monmouth ACTS (Assisting Community Through Services) was created by the Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners in 2018 to carry out recommendations of a Human Services Needs Assessment. This innovative public-private partnership brings together County divisions from the Department of Human Services and community partners on the Monmouth ACTS Advisory Council (MAAC) to enhance access to services for County residents. For more information, visit www.monmouthACTS.org.