Rice County Public Health has received a Breastfeeding Friendly Health Department Award from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for its contributions to the health of mothers and their babies.

A news release from the Rice County Public Health Nursing Department states;

"The designation acknowledges a county health department’s commitment to acting as a model for the community by supporting healthy families and receiving the business benefits of supporting nursing mothers.
Breastfeeding is a foundational way to ensure that babies receive optimal nutrition during the first formative years of life. Studies show that infants who are breastfed have better health outcomes as they grow."

Rice County Public Health Director Deb Purfeerst is quoted in the news release;

“Part of our work included taking a comprehensive look at our own policies and practices supporting breastfeeding mothers in the workplace, as well as information and services we offer to the public. Not only do we value the health benefits that breastfeeding offers such as lower healthcare costs, reduced chronic disease, and healthier mothers and babies but also the employer benefits of higher job satisfaction and lower staff turnover.”

Awards are designated at gold, silver and bronze levels, which correspond to the number of steps an organization met in a 10-step process.

MDH’s Breastfeeding Friendly recognition program is supported by the state Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP).

To learn more about the application process for the Breastfeeding Friendly recognition program, visit www.health.state.mn.us/breastfeedingfriendly.