Reno/Sparks, Nev. Aug. 30, 2021 – August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and the Washoe County Health District and Community Health Alliance Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs are reminding residents of the importance of breastfeeding and free services offered to families in Washoe County.
The Health District WIC program provides free monthly supplemental nutritious foods, education and referrals to other health and social services to eligible pregnant and postpartum women, infants and children up to age five in Washoe County who meet income guidelines. Staff are trained to provide nutrition and breastfeeding education and support, including breast pumps, and offer referrals to International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC).
Community Health Alliance is the second largest WIC provider in northern Nevada. In addition to the services that the health district provides, Community Health Alliance provides peer counseling to breastfeeding mothers, which includes additional one-on-one support, monthly virtual support groups, and can provide internal and external referrals to an IBCLC, who provide expert breastfeeding and lactation care.
Studies have shown that breastfeeding helps children combat infectious diseases, aids with brain growth and development, and creates a strong bond between the mother and the child. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk that a mother will get breast and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Healthier mothers and children result in medical and economic benefits to the family and community as well – fewer medical costs, less time away from work and decreased need to purchase formula for infants.
“Breastfeeding is so important to the health of mothers and babies,” said Oscar Delgado, chair of the District Board of Health and Reno City Council Member. “We are proud to acknowledge August as Breastfeeding Awareness Month and the important work that our WIC teams do to support women on their breastfeeding journey.”
In Nevada, 81.1 percent of infants are reported to have been breastfed. For children at six months of age, 57.4 percent of those are still receiving breastmilk. The percentage of infants exclusively breastfeed through at least three months of age is 40.9 percent.
If you are a pregnant or a postpartum mother, or have a child/children under five, please visit or call either the Health District or Community Health Alliance to see if you qualify for the WIC program:
Washoe County Health District
The Washoe County Health District is nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board and has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here.
Community Health Alliance
Community Health Alliance is a non-profit, federally qualified health center formed in July 2012 and is the largest provider of primary medical and pediatric dental services to Medicaid patients in northern Nevada. Community Health Alliance operates seven primary care health centers in Reno/Sparks, as well as mobile preventive and restorative dental programs, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program, behavioral health care, and has two in-house pharmacies. For more information, visit https://www.chanevada.org/.