Breastfeeding Week Festival set
GREENCASTLE -- A local event to be held in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week is set for Thursday.
The World Breastfeeding Week Festival will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at Robe-Ann Park in Greencastle. Food, activities for all ages and prizes will be featured.
World Breastfeeding Week began Aug. 1 and runs through Aug. 7.
"What we're doing with this event is celebrating local breastfeeding moms and their efforts," said Sarah Mason, a breastfeeding peer counselor for the Putnam County Woman, Infants and Children (WIC) program.
Mason is an avid supporter of breastfeeding. Her three daughters, Morgan, 3 1/2, Mackenzie, 2, and Maylea, 6 months, have all been breastfed.
"I'm so passionate about it," she said. "It's better not only for the babies, but for moms and for our planet, too."
Studies have shown that breastfeeding helps the uterus shrink to its pre-pregnancy state and reduces the amount of blood lost after delivery. Mothers who breastfeed for at least three months may lose more weight than mothers who do not breastfeed.
Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months can help in child spacing for women who do not use contraception, research shows. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Mason hopes that moms-to-be will come to the festival to gain information about breastfeeding.
"If you grew up with it you don't know any different, but people who haven't can be turned off (by breastfeeding)," she said. "People are apprehensive about doing it in public. I do talk to a lot of prenatals."
Mason also teaches breastfeeding classes twice a month at Johnson-Nichols Health Clinic in Greencastle.
"I do think I've helped people," she said. "I get calls thanking me for my support. It's a learning process and there are challenges, which is why a lot of people shy away. But if they have support, they're a lot more likely to stick with it."