Among the individuals and families strolling through Delaware Park in Buffalo today were some who were there to raise awareness of breastfeeding and its benefits for both baby and mother.
Catholic Charities Women, Infants and Children (WIC) hosted its fourth annual Breastfeeding Walk & Healthy Baby Festival on Friday morning. Some guests took a casual walk around the park perimeter while others walked among the numerous information tables where numerous other agencies distributed information relevant to the topic.
"There are numerous health benefits," said Katie Constantino, breastfeeding coordinator for Catholic Charities WIC, about the advantages of breastfeeding for babies. "They're going to have a stronger immune system. They're going to have fewer ear infections, respiratory infections, a lower risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
"There's health benefits for mom as well. It lowers her risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease, there's many reasons to breastfeed."
There is also increased respect for mothers who wish to breastfeed their babies in public, say advocates. It's their right to do so.
"In New York State, you have the right to breastfeed your baby wherever you have the right to be," said Constantino.
A similar awareness walk and informational program was scheduled for Hyde Park in Niagara Falls on August 5.
Catholic Charities WIC served more than 26,000 participants in Erie and Niagara Counties last year, assisting clients with food, nutrition education, referrals for eligible pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children under the age of five.