Department of Health Offers Several Initiatives to Empower Women Who Breastfeed

In the United States and Canada, August is National Breastfeeding Month. Doctors recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least six (6) months for the optimal health of a mother and her child. The Niagara County Department of Health offers several ongoing initiatives to increase the duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding in the community.

Niagara County Department of Health is supporting moms by offering a Breastfeeding and Baby Changing Station at Niagara County Fair again this year. If you stop by the Niagara County Fair this year, August 1 – 5, 2018, be sure to visit the blue trailer stationed next to the brick administration building. There, you will find representatives from the health department as well as volunteers from Opportunities Unlimited and the Niagara County Medical Reserve Corps, supporting the breastfeeding and baby changing station. The station is air-conditioned and offers a refrigerator (for milk storage), power outlet (for mothers who use a breast pump to express milk) as well as a separate space to change young children. “Providing a cool and quiet space for breastfeeding mothers and babies, as well as an accessible changing area for all parents and children, supports the health and wellbeing of our community,” said Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton. Mothers are also welcome to nurse their children under the shade of the blue trailer. “We support all mothers, and seek to normalize breastfeeding and empower women with the choice to nurse their baby wherever they are,” said Elise Pignatora, Director of Public Health Planning and Emergency Preparedness and Certified Lactation Counselor.

The health department also maintains a lactation space at each of its office locations in Lockport and Niagara Falls. The space is private and offers access to a small refrigerator and hospital grade breast pump. Staff as well as visitors are welcomed to use the space. The Niagara County Department of Health provides a Breastfeeding-Friendly Designation to local employers who meet the Lactation Program minimum requirements.  “We encourage all businesses and childcare providers to join us in promoting and protecting the health and safety of Niagara County residents and visitors,” said Mr. Stapleton.  The list of requirements and application for designation may be found on the Niagara County Department of Health website:

Starting August 7th from 9:30AM- 11:00AM at the Harry Abate Elementary School, the Niagara County Department of Health is offering a free Healthy Choices and Stress Reduction (8 class) series to residents of Niagara Falls. Children are welcome and a free gift card will be given out at each class. Free transportation and refreshments will also be available. Topics include breastfeeding, nutrition, safe sleep, stress reduction for children and adults. Free items relevant to the class topic will be given away at many of the classes. Those interested should register at call 716-439-7436.

For more information about the breastfeeding initiative, contact Elise Pignatora MS, CLC at (716) 439-7431.