By Mike Kruzman /

August is National Breastfeeding Month and the Livingston County Health Department is helping promote strong support systems for parents.

This year for Breastfeeding Awareness Month the Livingston County Health Department is teaming up with the Michigan Women, Infant, and Children’s (WIC) program to celebrate the theme, “Support Changes Everything!” Amy Pendall, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant for the Livingston County WIC Program said, in a release, many lack access to breastfeeding support and education. Through the WIC program, she says they are able to educate not only breastfeeding mothers, but also the people around them, including fathers, aunts, grandmothers and other family members. Pendall adds that they provide individual education, have flexible meeting times, and meet families where they are in their understanding of breastfeeding. She said getting off to a good start is vital, and having a support system is the key to a successful breastfeeding experience.

The health department reports that breastfeeding is the normal way to feed infants and evidence shows it provides many short and long term maternal and infant health benefits. The Michigan WIC breastfeeding program is guided by the vision that all families should breastfeed as long as they choose. The LCHD helps families by removing barriers, advancing equity, and promoting the act as being crucial for infant nutrition, social emotional health, and chronic disease prevention.