It’s Breastfeeding Awareness Month

STEUBENVILLE – While patrons of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County might expect to find resource books about breastfeeding geared to mothers, it might seem a bit more unusual to come across ones with children as the target audience.

But that’s not the case now, thanks to a donation made to the library system by the Women, Infants and Children program, a division of the Jefferson County Health Department, in honor of August being National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

Numerous copies of “Best Milk,” “This Milk Tastes Good” and “The Mystery of the Breast” now available at library branches can help children understand an alternative to babies being bottle fed, according to Ashley Wilson, a registered nurse with WIC and an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant.

“They’re geared toward the kids because it makes them more familiar with how mom is going to feed the baby,” Wilson said of the books that can help big brothers and big sisters, for example, understand a natural feeding concept. “They’re used to seeing bottles, but this is geared toward them because then they won’t ask as many questions.”

Misty Teasdale, the library system’s children’s services coordinator, said the library appreciates the unique donation.

“We have books geared toward the parent – the how-to’s – but we don’t have a lot geared toward the child. This is good,” Teasdale said.

The library system’s breastfeeding resource books are helpful, according to first-time mother Holly Parissi, a first-grade teacher at Wintersville Elementary. She and her husband, Ralph, Schiappa’s branch manager, are the parents of 7-month-old Anacelia.

Holly said she opted for breast-feeding mostly because of the health benefits it provides. Breast milk contains immunities to diseases and assists in the development of the baby’s immune system, according to a health department “Breastfeeding 101” sheet that lists 101 reasons to breastfeed.

“My husband works with the public, and I am a schoolteacher, so we’re constantly coming home with colds, and I think the No. 1 benefits among the billions is that they (breastfed babies) get sick less quickly than bottle-fed babies,” she said.

Breastfeeding resource books available at the library are appreciated, she said. “Being a new mom, it is a little nerve-wracking,” she said of breastfeeding. “Something that seems so natural can be difficult at times, so it (library resources) helped me through a lot.”

The WIC program provides breastfeeding education and support as part of its services.

During August, it is giving mothers water bottles that contain various items, including information about breastfeeding. It also is giving away nursing covers and breastfeeding blankets.

The giveaways are available during the health department hours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., excluding the lunch hour from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The health department and WIC are located on the seventh floor of the former Ohio Valley Towers building at 500 Market St., Steubenville. The telephone number is (740) 283-8530.

The theme for the month is “Keep Calm and Carry On Breastfeeding,” a logo on T-shirts worn by WIC personnel on Tuesdays.