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2002 News from Mecklenburg County

August 1, 2002


Charlotte, NC – Recent studies have shown that breastfed babies do better in school and score higher on standardized reading and math tests than their formula-fed peers.   

The American Academy of Pediatrics has long recommended breastfeeding as the best possible start for infants, noting significantly fewer allergies, ear infections and other health problems in breastfed children. 

Despite these significant advantages, advocates say there are still many societal obstacles to overcome regarding attitudes toward breastfeeding.  Those obstacles include support in the home and workplace, poverty, and the cultural, religious and sexual aspects of breastfeeding.  World Breastfeeding Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about this healthy start that only a mother can give her child.  

World Breastfeeding Week is recognized around the globe August 1- 7.  The week commemorates the 1990 signing of the Innocenti Declaration, which was written to promote, protect and support breastfeeding worldwide.   

The Mecklenburg County Health Department offers breastfeeding peer counseling through BELLAS, or the Breastfeeding Encouragement, Learning, Liaison and Support group. Formerly known as the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program. BELLAS has been serving and supporting mothers in Mecklenburg County since 1992. 

BELLAS peer counselors teach breastfeeding classes focusing on the basics of breastfeeding and instructing new mothers on how to integrate breastfeeding into school and work schedules.  Counselors are available in a number of languages including Spanish, Arabic and Russian. 

Information and support for breastfeeding mothers can be accessed through the BELLAS “Warm Line,” at 704-336-6464.  There, callers can make contact with experienced counselors and breastfeeding mothers.  

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