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GLITC Grant Works to Normalize Breastfeeding in Tribal Communities


  A 3 year, nearly $300,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will help expand and encourage breastfeeding among Wisconsin tribes. The Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council says the money will be used to train tribal health care workers and other maternal child health staff. Nutritionist and Breastfeeding Coordinator Cheri Nemec says 83% of infants initiate breastfeeding, but by 6 months only 55% are still breastfeeding. She says they’ll invest in programs encouraging and normalizing breastfeeding by developing support groups and community education events.

 “…we are also looking at trying to work with businesses in the community to support women who return to work. Whether it’s space for breastfeeding break time for breastfeeding; we want assist some of the businesses with how to make that work and how to help the mom’s once they go back that work to continue to breastfeed.”  

Nemec says breastfeeding lowers rates of diabetes, obesity and cancer. She says because the Native American population is especially susceptible to these conditions developing culture specific programs is crucial.  

“…in the Native American community elders are highly respected for their knowledge and experience. So we really want to bring that focus in and have our elders talk about breastfeeding, their experiences and how it’s going to help future generations.”  

Nemec says the programs will increase the success and health for mothers who choose to breastfeed as well as sustain support for their communities.

The Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council says all Wisconsin tribes are invited to take part in the programs.  

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