(Memphis) Breast feeding as a healthier option for babies has been touted for a while.
But Shelby County moms have been slow to pick it up.
“Seventy five percent of the nation on average initiates breast-feeding. In Tennessee about 66% or 67% initiate breast-feeding. We (Shelby County) are about 60% now,” says Dr. Julie Ware, Chairman of the Shelby County Breastfeeding Coalition.
The number of Shelby County moms breast-feeding has improved from 42 percent in 2004.
Now the message is getting louder.
The Shelby County Breastfeeding Coalition is unveiling a new awareness billboard and five bus stop signs showing real families breast-feeding, in an effort to break barriers that may exist for moms .
“Another barrier seemed to be breast-feeding in public, people didn’t quite like that. So by putting these signs in public if you will, that may help to sort of start breaking down that barrier,” says Dr. ware.
Agencies like the Neighborhood Christian Center and it’s Operation Smart Child Program have been exposing parents to the breast-feeding option .
“The majority of our girls that come in pregnant or with toddlers probably never even considered breast-feeding. Because you go to the WIC Office and you get your milk. So for us it’s to change their mindset and think differently about breast-feeding,” says Ephie Johnson, President and CEO of the Neighborhood Christian Center.
“We live in the capital of infant mortality and obesity in Shelby County and yet here is one thing mothers can do for their babies that will help our entire community,” says Dr. Ware.
The billboards and bus signs go up December 17th.
They will be located in areas of Downtown and North Memphis, where the breast-feeding numbers are the lowest.
The photos are of real families and were taken by Photographer Alex Ginsburg.