The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has been recognized by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and the International Lactation Consultant Association for excellence in lactation care.

This international recognition was provided based on a high level of professionally certified staff, program availability for breastfeeding families and various activities that help protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

There is now a strong body of research that reflects health benefits for mothers and children associated with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is normal nutrition for infants. The PHD and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program are a valuable source of breastfeeding information and support. The risk of not breastfeeding includes: more ear infections, colds and flu, asthma, allergies, obesity, diabetes and other health-related issues.

The millennial or Generation Y is the new face of motherhood. This generation is responsible for 76 percent of all births and 85 percent of first births. The PHD Breastfeeding Program is successful and supportive to families in many ways including:

» Services and support are provided to women during pregnancy and following the birth of a child.

» Has some of the highest breastfeeding rates in California.

» Two peer counselors who provide ongoing support and assistance.

» “Bfed” innovative two way texting program to meet the needs of Gen Y. Ninety three percent of WIC participants own a cell phone, 79 percent have unlimited texting and 55 percent have a smartphone with Internet service.

» Twenty-one lactation educators provide basic support. Five internationally board-certified lactation consultants complete high risk assessments and follow-ups.

» Mothers on Medi-Cal are eligible for this specialized service at no cost.

» Lactation consultants are located in WIC and health-care center sites to facilitate easy access.

» WIC has developed a new targeted Gen Y interactive learner centered prenatal breastfeeding class where the topics are “apps” and the participants use their cell phone in the class.

» WIC participants have access to 378 electric breast pumps.

» All staff is bilingual in English and Spanish.

“We are pleased to have such high-caliber staff and quality services to our local community,” said Meg Beard, MPH, MCHES, RD, IBCLC, breastfeeding coordinator. “Together we are improving maternal and child health by promoting and prioritizing breastfeeding.”

She can be reached at or 805.681.5276.

— Susan Klein-Rothschild is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.