RED WING — Goodhue County Health and Human Services has received a Breastfeeding Friendly Health Department Award from the Minnesota Department of Health for its contributions to the health of mothers and their babies.

The designation acknowledges the department’s commitment to leading as a model for the community by supporting healthy families and receiving the business benefits of supporting nursing mothers. Goodhue County Health and Human Services was recognized at the Gold level.

MDH recognizes county health departments, workplaces, maternity centers and child care facilities that have demonstrated their commitment to supporting breastfeeding mothers. Goodhue County Health and Human Services was previously recognized as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace in 2016.

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.

“We are committed to coordinating within our agency, with our partners, with the community, to make breastfeeding the norm. As a health and human services department, this is about doing our part to support all new moms in our county with breastfeeding for 12 months or beyond,” said Nina Arneson, Goodhue County Health and Human Services Director. “Some of the steps we have taken are coordinating Baby Cafes, being an active member of the Goodhue Wabasha Pierce County Breastfeeding Coalition, providing support to workplaces on lactation policy and lactation room guidance, opening Mother’s Gift Milk Depot, and supporting our own employees. We are proud to be recognized for this work.”

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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.