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WIC Efforts Support Surgeon Generalís Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding

For mothers enrolled in the WIC program, breastfeeding upon returning to work or school may now be just a little bit easier.

WICís recent expansion of its breast pump program now provides hospital-grade breast pumps to eligible mothers at no charge. The hospital-grade breast pumps help mothers who are returning to work or school to pump breast milk more efficiently and encourages the mother to breastfeed for a longer period of time. Complementing this program was the announcement last week from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that breast pumps can count towards medical deductions and money from flexible spending accounts (FSAs) can be used to purchase breast pumps.

ďBreastfeeding protects mothers and their children from numerous health risks and results in significant cost savings for families, the healthcare system, and employers,Ē said Director of Health David R. Gifford, MD, MPH. ďAs the Surgeon Generalís report emphasizes, it is important to focus on those barriers that make it difficult for women to breastfeed. WICís breast pump program makes it easier for women to continue breastfeeding after they return to work or school.Ē

Healthy Babies, Happy Moms (HBHM) works with HEALTH to provide hospital-grad electric breast pumps for eligible WIC mothers.

In January, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin released The Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. This report urges healthcare providers, employers, insurers, policymakers, researchers, and the community to take 20 steps to support mothers in reaching personal breastfeeding goals. For more information about The Surgeon Generalís Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, visit http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/. The Call to Action specifically recommends accommodations that support women when they return to work.

For information about the WIC program, visit www.health.ri.gov/family/wic/. For information about HBHM, visit http://www.healthybabieshappymoms.com/

Related links

Department or agency: Department of Health

Online: http://www.health.ri.gov

Release date: 02-18-2011

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