Breastfeeding is one of the healthiest, most natural things a mother can do for her baby. But moms aren’t born knowing how to do it. For Georgia moms who have questions, need tips or just want some encouragement, neighborhood breastfeeding support is now just a click away.
Georgia breastfeeding resources are now listed on ZipMilk, an online database that lists providers who offer counseling and education on breastfeeding to mothers in their communities. The site lists providers by ZIP code and offers maps with color-coded pin drops showing the kinds of breastfeeding services or professionals that are available in a geographic area. The website even provides a detailed list of what kinds of services and credentials each type of provider offers, from International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) and WIC clinics to support groups and peer counselors.
Georgia is the sixth state to join ZipMilk since the website was launched by the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition nearly eight years ago. Claire Eden, coordinator at the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition, said community support is an important way to encourage women to try and stick with breastfeeding, which health experts say should continue through at least the first six months of a baby’s life.
“It’s so important that moms have support in this process,” Eden said. “We want to connect families to the resources that are out there that they may not know about.”
As scientists have learned more about the benefits of breastfeeding –such as lowering a child’s risk of asthma, obesity and other diseases – more birthing hospitals have started focusing on how they can encourage the healthy practice among their patients. Programs like the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and Georgia’s 5-STAR Hospital Initiative encourage and recognize hospitals that offer optimal promotion and support for breastfeeding, including after parents leave the hospital with their newborns.
Eden said many hospitals try to refer new mothers to breastfeeding resources when they are discharged, but those referrals are disjointed and can quickly become outdated.
“Every hospital wants to support their patients when they are discharged,” Eden said. “ZipMilk is one place where anyone in Georgia can go to and find community breastfeeding support outside of that initial hospital consultation.”
ZipMilk listings are updated regularly, and each provider who posts their information is verified by Eden and her staff at the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition. Currently there are 41 providers listed for Georgia, and Eden said she and her staff will spend the rest of 2014 trying to create a comprehensive list of services for the state, including each of Georgia’s WIC clinics. She encourages anyone providing breastfeeding support to submit their listing on ZipMilk.
“We want people to know about your support and the services you’re providing,” she said.
For more information on ZipMilk in Georgia, contact firstname.lastname@example.org