Polk County Public Health has received a Breastfeeding Friendly Health Department-Silver Level Award from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for its contributions to the health of mothers and their babies.

    The designation acknowledges a county health department’s commitment to acting as a model for the community by supporting healthy families and receiving the business benefits of supporting nursing mothers.

    Breastfeeding is a foundational way to ensure that babies receive optimal nutrition during the first formative years of life. Studies show that infants who are breastfed have better health outcomes as they grow.

    “Breastfeeding has many health benefits ranging from nutrition to long-term protection from disease. We are working to create and support a culture where breastfeeding is the norm and to reduce obstacles that women and families face, and breastfeeding friendly places are a great way to do that. We are dedicated to supporting mothers, babies and families in their breastfeeding journey.” – said Sarah Reese, director, Polk County Public Health.

    MDH’s Breastfeeding Friendly recognition program is supported by the state Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP).

    Awards are designated at gold, silver and bronze levels, which correspond to the number of steps an organization has met in a 10-step process.

    To learn more about the application process for the Breastfeeding Friendly recognition program, visit www.health.state.mn.us/breastfeedingfriendly.