Program addresses breastfeeding awareness

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Community groups, residents, and area businesses gathered on Federal Hill Green to show support for breastfeeding mothers, in observance of World Breastfeeding Week, on Saturday, Aug. 3.

The event was hosted by the Bristol Early Childhood Alliance and the Bristol Health Parent and Child Center.

Director of the PCC Amanda Sawyer and PCC supervisor of parent educators Lauren Kittle, explained the goal of the event was to “bring awareness to breastfeeding in our community, and to support moms who are breastfeeding,” or “who are thinking about breastfeeding.”

“The reason we thought Breastfeeding Week was so important is because infant feeding time is important as a way to bond with your child,” said Sawyer. “We just want to make sure that people understand that that bonding time is super important, and any time that you can devote to feeding time with your child is important.”

Promoting the importance of bonding with your child were several individuals and organizations, including the School Readiness Council, SoVita Chiropractic, Dragonfly Studios, WIC at Bristol Health, the Connecticut Science Center, the Bristol Early Childhood Alliance, the Bristol Public Library Children’s Department, Motherhood maternity clothing store, and author Colleen Brunetti.

Several presenters shared items with attendees — such as the BECA’s Appetite for Reading program, which consists of eleven bookshelves throughout the city, where young children may select a free book, or the School Readiness Council’s Mary-Alice Petrucelli-Timek, who presented bonding opportunities with one’s child through music, and a cross stitching activity.

The event also focused on giving breastfeeding mothers some education and some empowerment to know what their rights are in the workplace, and how to go about advocating for themselves in the workplace if they’re feeling like their needs aren’t being met.

On the national and state level, there are pieces of legislation that protect breastfeeding mothers, no matter where or how they choose to breastfeed their children.

But, Kittle said, many mothers are unaware of what rights they have.

There are three State of Connecticut General Statutes regarding breastfeeding, two that protect a mother’s right to breastfeed in any public place. One states no one may restrict or limit the right of a mother to breast-feed her child and public accommodations, resorts, or amusements can’t restrict or limit the right of a mother to breast feed. Laws also govern restricting breastfeeding at work.

“We just wanted to bring awareness to World Breastfeeding Week, and have it be something that’s okay to talk about – for people and for moms,” said Kittle. “I think moms still get a little bit- they’re not sure who they can talk to about it; they know they can come to talk to us, they can talk to WIC, they can talk to their OBs, but just out in the community, you know, make some connections with maybe some other moms who are nursing, have breastfed, are thinking about breastfeeding and they’re pregnant, just getting some information.”

The Bristol Health Parent and Child Center, 9 Prospect Street, Bristol, offers many educational opportunities for individuals during all stages of parenthood, including educational classes and support groups.

To learn more about the Bristol Health Parent and Child Center, visit www.bristolhospital.org/services/parent-and-child-center, or, contact the center by calling (860) 585-3829, or emailing pcc@bristolhospital.org.

Comments? Email tmurchison@BristolObserver.com.