Meeting them where they are

The Coalition and Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) have partnered together to offer breastfeeding education and services to four high schools in Duval County.

The partnership allows breastfeeding educators and advocates to encourage young mothers to exclusively breastfeed for six months, and to continue breastfeeding for at least one year. The mothers who participate in the breastfeeding partnership will be educated on the importance of breastfeeding; have access to breastfeeding pumps and a breastfeeding room; and will receive supplies to store their breastmilk safely.breastfeeding

Mesha Demps, the women’s intervention specialist for the Magnolia Project and a facilitator for the breastfeeding partnership, is excited about the opportunity to discuss the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as assist the young mothers.

“This is a great opportunity for everyone involved” Demps said. “This collaboration allows many young mothers, who do not have the time or resources to pump or breastfeed, the opportunity to do so. Young mothers are constantly on the go. They have to go to school and many of them have to go to work after school. This is the perfect opportunity to meet them where they are.”

There are many benefits to breastfeeding for both mom and baby, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These benefits include lower Sudden Infant Deaths (SIDS) risk, fewer problems with weight, less risk of cancer and more effective vaccines.

The breastfeeding partnership is set to begin in January 2017 with Mesha covering William M. Raines and A. Phillip Randolph high schools and Denise Mills, the breastfeeding outreach coordinator for the Coalition, covering  Edward H. White and Englewood high schools.