WASHINGTON, DC (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — The DC Breastfeeding Coalition and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health today announced the winners of the Washington Breastfeeding Friendly Business and Community Awards. Award winners will be honored at a special awards breakfast and tour of Alice Neel’s exhibit Women on Thursday, January 12 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

The awards program will recognize the area’s leading business and community advocates for their efforts to encourage and support breastfeeding. Babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life are less likely to develop ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses and childhood obesity. Breastfeeding also reduces a mother’s risk of developing ovarian and breast cancers, reduces health care costs and contributes to a more productive workforce as infants are sick less often and breastfeeding mothers miss less work.

Awards will be given in three categories – Breastfeeding Friendly Business, Breastfeeding Friendly Employer and Breastfeeding Community Advocate.

Recipients include:

America Online – Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award

AOL’s Wellbaby Lactation Program provides breastfeeding employees with a room to pump or express breastmilk at work, lactation counseling and classes, a monthly electronic newsletter and a “Great Breastfeeding Mom” certificate when lactation is completed. “AOL is extremely proud of our Wellbaby Program and honored to have it recognized as a model. The program is having a huge impact for AOL families by educating moms and dads on the importance of breastfeeding and the importance of creating a supportive work environment to get families off to a healthy start,” said Jodi Fuller, AOL’s Director of Health and Benefits.

Pan American Health Organization – Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Honorable Mention

The Pan American Health Organization offers employees a nursing room and generous leave policy which allows a nursing mother to take two hours of nursing leave a day until her child reaches its second birthday.

Westfield Wheaton Shopping Center – Breastfeeding Friendly Business

With its recent redevelopment, Westfield Wheaton’s new family lounge features private nursing stations, sinks and other amenities designed to help shoppers comfortably nurse and care for their infants and children. “The family lounge is one of Westfield’s signature amenities and was specifically designed for mothers and fathers with infants and toddlers in tow. We are delighted to be recognized with the Washington Breastfeeding Friendly Business Award for providing an environment that welcomes and facilitates breastfeeding,” said Bill Schu, Westfield Wheaton’s Senior General Manager.

Gwendolyn West, IBCLC, ICCE, Howard University BLESS Initiative – Breastfeeding Community Advocate

Gwen West has been a breastfeeding advocate since 1989. She is currently a perinatal educator at Washington Hospital Center and a lactation consultant for Howard University Hospital’s BLESS Initiative and Howard/WIC National Breastfeeding Support Center, the city’s only free breastfeeding support center. As a result of Gwen’s efforts, breastfeeding rates at a SE Washington WIC site have significantly increased and many women and families have achieved their breastfeeding goals.

The Washington Breastfeeding Friendly Business and Community Awards is an OWH sponsored program to complement its National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign, which includes partnerships with local breastfeeding organizations and Ad Council-sponsored public service announcements. Awards solicitation, review and selection were conducted independent of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Award applications were reviewed and final selections made by a committee of local of health professionals.

Additional information about the selection process and campaign is available at www.washingtonbreastfeeds.org.

Sponsored by Glamourmom and Lansinoh Laboratories, the awards breakfast and tour on January 12 will feature a tour of Alice Neel’s exhibit Women, which depicts honest and bold views of mothers with their infants, friends, strangers, and family.

Event Details:

Breakfast and Networking – 8:00 a.m.

Awards Program – 9:00 a.m.

Tour of Alice Neel’s Exhibit Women will immediately follow program.

News issued by: DC Breastfeeding Coaltion

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Original Story ID: (1158) :: 2006-01-0110-004

Original Keywords: DC Breastfeeding Coaltion, US Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health, Washington D.C., Washington Breastfeeding Friendly Business and Community Awards, Breastfeeding Friendly Business, Breastfeeding Friendly Employer and Breastfeeding Community Advocate, Public Square Communications, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Alice Neel DC Breastfeeding Coaltion

News Source: DC Breastfeeding Coaltion