California Community Baby Shower Promotes Breastfeeding
Arias, Donya C., The Nation's Health
A YEARLY event dubbed as the "world's largest baby shower" features gifts such as diapers and strollers along with breastfeeding advice and encouragement.
Sponsored by the Imperial County Breastfeeding Coalition in El Centro, Calif., the baby shower event attracted almost 500 people in August and has grown in popularity since the first event in 1999, coalition and APHA member Amy Binggeli, DrPH, RD, CHES, CLE, told The Nation's Health. Organizers offer free child care and refreshments and invite breastfeeding and expectant mothers as well as fathers, grandparents, extended family members and community members.
The event relies on a grant from the Imperial County Children and Families First Commission and support from members of the breastfeeding coalition, which is made up of representatives from local clinics, groups such as the March of Dimes, the Imperial County Public Health Department, lactation consultants and breastfeeding mothers, among others.
Coalition members host the baby shower to highlight the health benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mother but also to give other advice on issues such as car seat safety and child abuse prevention. At the shower, attendees are reminded of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first six months and be given breast milk along with solid foods at least until their first birthday.
"It's a very festive atmosphere, and because of the sheer numbers, it shows that there is support in our community for breastfeeding," Pam Kennedy, RN, a coalition member and perinatal services coordinator for the county health department, told The Nation's Health. …