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Bloomington Briefing

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Public Health Division

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Public Health supports healthy beginnings

Authored on
Bloomington Briefing Published July 29, 2022
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Updated on November 2, 2022
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August is National Breastfeeding Month. There are many health benefits of breastfeeding for new mothers and their babies. Despite the well-documented benefits, many individuals face barriers, such as the absence of peer support, that prevent them from starting to breastfeed or limit how long they can continue doing so.

Bloomington Public Health peer breastfeeding counselors help families have healthy beginnings by providing education and support. Peer Counselor Ramla Ibrahim worked with a new mom who was uncomfortable leaving her home because she did not know English. The client’s husband worked long hours on the road, leaving her with few options for activities outside the home.

“I relied on my own experience. My husband works long shifts. I know that if I am home alone with the kids too long, it can be stressful,” said Ramla. “I recommend my clients have ‘me time.’ If you are healthy and well, you can take better care of your kids.”

Ibrahim suggested the client enroll in free English as a Second Language courses. The client took several classes, increasing her skills and confidence. Today, she works as an assistant at a day care center.

“I meet clients where they are,” said Ibrahim. “These are long-term relationships.”

Peer breastfeeding counselors are available to participants of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as the WIC program. For more information about WIC services, visit blm.mn/wic. Learn more about Public Health’s impact at blm.mn/health2021.