NEW CITY, NY – Rockland County has been awarded $1.2 million state grant to encourage women to breastfeed, County Executive Ed Day announced today.
The county was one of only 6 organizations in New York awarded the grant by the state Department of Health.
“We want to increase both the number of new moms who are breastfeeding and encourage them to continue longer,” Day said. “This grant will enable us to work with our community partners to make both practical and policy changes that makes it easier for women to breastfeed.”
As part of the grant, Rockland is working with Baby Café USA, a non-profit organization that helps coordinate a network of drop-in cafes where pregnant and breastfeeding mothers can get support from trained staff and can share experiences with other moms.
The County Executive made the announcement at a WIC center in Spring Valley that is the site of the region’s first Baby Café.
He was joined by numerous community organizations, including representatives from the agencies that will partner with the Department of Health. They include Nyack Hospital, Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network, and Childcare Resources of Rockland.
Legislator Aney Paul, a nurse who has worked to encourage breastfeeding, also attended.
Rockland will eventually have five Baby Cafes, focusing on underserved communities in Ramapo and Clarkstown.
“This Baby Cafe is the first here in Rockland and the first in the New York City and Hudson Valley regions,” Day said. “It shows that we are ahead of the curve when it comes to providing services to women and children.”
Rockland County Commissioner of Health Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said there are lasting, positive health benefits associated with breastfeeding.
The County Executive also announced that as employees are moved back into Building A in the Pomona complex, lactation rooms will be made available.
“We want to encourage all businesses to make accommodations so that employees can continue to breastfeed once they return to the job market,” he said.
The first Baby Café at 14 South Main St., Spring Valley, is furnished with unused surplus from the Summit Park nursing home, including comfortable chairs, tables and a couch.
All Baby Cafes follow standards set by the organization and they collect statistical data that is used to reduce health disparities nationwide