Early experiences shape and build the brain, creating a sturdy foundation, especially during infancy.  Moms have the opportunity to breastfeed and develop their infant’s brains while still being able to enjoy outdoor community events. Because breastfeeding promotes healthy brain development, the Alamance County WIC program has recently been working to get the Lactation Station registered at local community events for the summer.  The WIC team designed the Lactation Station to create an environment where breastfeeding moms feel safe and welcomed to breastfeed while attending community events. The Lactation Station is a private, comfortable space that moms can go to breastfeed, pump, or change their infants while out at community events. That privacy not only allows for strengthening that mother-baby bond, but it promotes a quiet space for back-and-forth interactions (serve and return) between mom and baby, boosting brain architecture and increasing positive responses through reciprocal interactions. Amenities provided at the station include chairs, fans, a changing table, and electric outlets for those who need to express milk.

Alamance County WIC successfully introduced the space in 2019 with appearances at seven community events including the St. Patty’s Day Bash in Burlington and Slice of Summer in Graham. Once made available, there was an overwhelmingly positive response. Moms with older children have expressed their gratitude and sentiment wishing there had been something available years ago when they were breastfeeding. Dads were also thankful for the space for the support it offers. With scorching temperatures during recent events, breastfeeding moms have voiced appreciation that they did not have to go to their car, or sit somewhere with a blanket in the heat. All the organizers of these events have been encouraging of this innovative idea and the service it is providing for the community.

In addition to supporting moms and promoting healthy brain architecture in infants, we want the Lactation Station to spark conversation about the benefits of breastfeeding in efforts to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates within the county. The Alamance County WIC Breastfeeding Team is planning activities for August to celebrate World Breastfeeding Month.  There are currently two full-time peer counselors and two international board-certified lactation consultants on the team.  There will be more information available closer to these activities on the Alamance County Health Department Facebook page.

WIC, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children, is a service for pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age five. The WIC Program promotes healthy habits for families through nutrition education and counseling services, breastfeeding promotion and support, referrals to other health and community resources, and healthy foods.

To be eligible for WIC services, mom or child must:

  • Live in North Carolina.
  • Meet category eligibility (pregnant woman, breastfeeding woman up to 1 year postpartum, postpartum without breastfeeding up to 6 months, infant or child up to the fifth birthday).
  • Have a family income less than 185% of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines. For a household of two, that would be anything less than an annual income of $32,227. A person receiving Medicaid, Work First Families Assistance (TANF), or assistance from the NC Food and Nutrition Services automatically meets the income eligibility requirement.
  • Be at nutritional risk. This will be assessed by a nutritionist or other health professional at no cost to the participant at the WIC office.

For more information about WIC or to make an appointment, visit the Alamance County WIC office, located at the Alamance County Health Department, at 319 N. Graham-Hopedale Road, Burlington, or call 336-570-6745. You may also visit the website at https://www.nutritionnc.com/wic/.

 This institution is an equal opportunity provider.