St. Louis County Public Health wins Breastfeeding Friendly award

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Public Health & Human Services Dept. • 320 West Second Street, Suite 605 • Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: (218) 726-2096 •

Linnea Mirsch




August 19, 2021

CONTACT: Dana Kazel, Communications Manager

218-725-5049 (office) • 218-591-2219 (cell)


St. Louis County WIC program honored for helping moms breastfeed

St Louis County Public Health has been honored for its support of breastfeeding and its work to improve the health of mothers and their babies. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recognized the County's WIC clinic in Duluth with a Gold Premiere 2021 Breastfeeding Award of Excellence.

The award recognizes the county's impactful peer program, increasingly higher breastfeeding rates amongst WIC participants, and overall breastfeeding support and education services.


Through the St. Louis County WIC program, public health staff start by talking about breastfeeding with expectant moms at their initial pregnancy appointment. Those who are interested in participating are referred to the Peer Breastfeeding Program. The program provides support from other moms and can help overcome potential barriers to breastfeeding. WIC staff also partner with the county's maternal/child public health nurses who conduct home visits to mothers and caregivers and their infants. This provides continued support for moms with breastfeeding concerns.


Breastfeeding is the standard for infant feeding, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, because it provides essential nutrients and antibodies that boost an infant’s immune system, providing protection from childhood illnesses. Babies who are not breastfed are more likely to develop common childhood illnesses like ear infections and diarrhea as well as chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, asthma and childhood obesity.


Breastfeeding is important for mothers, too. Women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of
breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.


"Supporting moms and families who want to breastfeed is really rewarding because there are so many health benefits for everyone involved," said Beth Hanni, a St. Louis County Public Health Nurse in the WIC clinic. "So we’re happy to do this work and especially happy to receive this award this year considering all the extra challenges faced this year by our staff and the families we serve."

To learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, or any of the services offered through St. Louis County WIC Clinics, call 218-725-5211 (Duluth) or 218-471-7604 (Hibbing, Virginia or Ely).