CommWell Health begins breast-feeding support

Rebeca Rodriguez, breast-feeding peer counselor, left, spends time with mother Kayla Herring and her baby boy, Jonathan Herring.

As a local breast-feeding peer counselor, Rebeca Rodriguez is looking forward to providing help and encouragement to local mothers who would like to feed their babies in a healthy way.

A breast-feeding support group for Sampson County mothers, through the Commwell Health program, is underway. Meetings are held at First Presbyterian Church, 901 N. Park Ave. Dunn, 11 a.m. every fourth Friday. The sessions last a little over an hour each month. Signs will be setup to give directions to the meeting room. It’s open to mothers currently breast-feeding or other prenatal participants.

According to Rodriguez, he program is operated by CommWell Health’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. It supports and educates mothers and families with healthy habits and nutrition.

“Good nutrition starts literally the day we’re born,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez says she educates mothers and through her work, she discovered there was a big gap in Sampson County and surrounding areas when it comes to breast-feeding support. For a lot of moms, Rodriguez is the only place mothers can find breast-feeding support.

“There’s not a lot of breast-feeding support out in the community,” Rodriguez said.

To help solve the issue, a coalition was formed with other WIC offices and members from the community. One of the goals was begin a support group, not only for WIC participants, but for others moms in the area. The first meeting was held in February and the group meets once a month. For mothers near areas like Newton Grove and Godwin, the Dunn area is the closest group.

“It’s a place where mothers can bring their babies and gather information on breast-feeding and share their experiences and challenges,” Rodriguez said. “It gives them a place to connect with others mothers.”

The meetings are facilitated by volunteer Kristy Long, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Rodriguez said she’s very knowledgeable on the subject and is available to answer questions for mothers. Currently English-speaking mothers are participating, but accommodations will be made for Spanish-speaking mothers as well.

“We want to support mom from every walk of life,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said there are a lot of benefits associated with breast-feeding. Some of them include lower incidents of problems such as ear infections, allergies, asthma and an higher level on antibodies to fight diseases. One of the benefits for mothers included a lower risk of breast cancer.

“It helps both mom and baby stay healthy,” Rodriguez said about a program, which she believes is affordable for mothers and the community.

For more information about breast-feeding, Rodriguez suggested that mothers contact their local WIC offices. Information about the group is available by calling 910-567-7066.