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September 1, 2013

Support provided for breastfeeding mothers

DUNCAN — There has been negative and positive attention to a mother’s right to breastfeed in public, however, most will agree that breastfeeding itself is a good thing.

Several mothers and their babies, as well as mothers who had yet to give birth, came together for Duncan’s first Community Breastfeeding Celebration Wednesday in Fuqua Park, which was sponsored by Ray of Hope Church. The event drew some of the local medical community to share their support for breastfeeding mothers.

“I’m very excited because everyone we asked to come is here,” said Stephanie Dresser, organizer. “I’m hoping to do this every August for Breastfeeding Awareness Month.”

Dresser is a peer counselor for breastfeeding mommies and as a mother who has breastfed, she is able to empathize with all of the ups and downs that come with it. The celebration was an idea she came up with so other mothers could network.

“These mommies are overjoyed for the support,” said Dresser.

“Almost every mom wants to breastfeed but there are bumps in the road for everyone. This mom-to-mom support is important.”

While support was a focus of the event, getting information out about the benefits of breastfeeding was also a goal. Doctors, nurses, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and peer counselors were on hand to deliver both support and information.

“This is fabulous because we’ve never had anything like this,” said Dr. Kim Hennan with Duncan Women’s Center.

“We’ve had other things for mothers but we’ve never focused on breastfeeding. I’m excited to have been invited.”

Hennan mentioned one of the biggest benefits of breastfeeding is the bond created between mother and baby. She pointed out many mothers at the event who carried their infant close to their chest in slings.

“I love seeing all of these pregnant bellies and little babies,” she said. Ruth Henager attended the event with her small son Mark Allen. Henager said her mother had breastfeed she and her three siblings.

“She has been my main support,” she said. “It’s very nice to know there are a lot of advocates here working to normalize (breastfeeding).” Many of the booths by various medical entities gave door prizes donated by local businesses. Chickasaw Nation WIC gave free T-shirts to the little ones.

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