Catholic Charities of Buffalo announced its Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program recently received a WIC Breastfeeding Award of Excellence, Gold, from the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for WIC.
The award program, given at three levels of performance - Gold, Premiere and Elite – recognizes local WIC agencies that provide exemplary breastfeeding promotion and support activities and acknowledges efforts in maintaining a successful peer counselor program. A total of 102 local WIC agencies across the country were recognized. Catholic Charities WIC program was one of seven WIC programs of the 91 total in New York to receive this award this year.
Catholic Charities WIC program offers free breastfeeding help from three international board-certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs), 42 certified lactation counselor trained staff, and 13 peer counselors. It provides free breast pumps when needed for families in Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties. About 3,500 new babies and their parent/caregiver participate in the WIC program annually across the three counties.
“We are very proud of the comprehensive team approach to breastfeeding support and education that we are able to provide for our WIC families, both prenatally and postpartum at WIC visits and also with phone calls and texts in between visits from each participant’s own WIC breastfeeding peer counselor,” said Kate Constantino, WIC breastfeeding coordinator, Catholic Charities. “Our IBCLCs provide advanced lactation care whenever needed both in person and virtually when necessary; having this level of expertise also makes our program unique. We are always striving to keep improving, and our breastfeeding initiation and duration rates continue to improve with the breastfeeding promotion and support practices we have implemented.”
WIC is a federal nutrition program that supports families to live a healthier life. WIC provides nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding support, prenatal and postpartum support, referrals and food benefits for women, infants and children up to age 5. To find out more details and eligibility requirements, call Catholic Charities at 716-218-1484 or visit ccwny.org.
Catholic Charities has helped individuals and families in need since its founding in 1923. For more information, visit ccwny.org.