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Press Release

Release Date: August 01, 2022
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

The Chickasaw Nation Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC) is celebrating World Breastfeeding Week from 3-6 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 3, at the Chickasaw Nation Community Center, 700 N. Mississippi, Ada, Oklahoma. WIC educators and nutritionists will be on hand to provide helpful nutrition information and counseling to moms and families. The event is open to the public at no charge.

“Breastfeeding is encouraged, because it is the most beneficial and healthy way to feed babies,” said Macheala Taylor, WIC special projects and outreach coordinator of the Chickasaw Nation“Breast milk has a lot of special things in it that formula doesn’t. It is made from a mother’s body. Breast milk is made from living cells, unlike formula, with hormones, antivirals and other healthy things a baby needs.”

The goal of the event is to make breastfeeding the preferred method of infant feeding for all mothers. Additionally, educational booths from community programs and services will be set up for mothers and expecting mothers, to learn about other supplementary resources available to them.

Due to COVID-19, safety precautions at the event will include a drive-thru area for those who wish to participate while remaining in their vehicles. Outreach bags will be presented to participants in each vehicle. These bags will include program and service information, incentives and giveaways. Treats will be provided to children as well.

The Chickasaw Nation WIC program provides breastfeeding clients with registered lactation consultants, registered dietitians, specially trained breastfeeding peer counselors and prenatal breastfeeding classes. A 24-hour breastfeeding consultation line is available as well.

“As a current breastfeeding mother, I can attest that every breastfeeding mother has challenges,” Taylor said. “These challenges can come from worrying about if baby is receiving enough nutrition, to the stress in the early days of baby wanting to feed often and in the middle of the night. Later, the baby’s milestones, like growing teeth or needing more comfort through breastfeeding presents additional challenges.”

WIC staff and educators are available to support breastfeeding mothers through these challenges.

The Chickasaw Nation Medical Center offers breastfeeding support in an environment that best facilitates the mother’s success in accomplishing her breastfeeding goals. Lactation services are available in the facility, and all nurses are skilled in providing breastfeeding support and education.

“The Chickasaw Nation supports breastfeeding,” Taylor said. “One accomplishment of the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center is being designated a ‘Baby Friendly’ hospital. Every mother is encouraged to breastfeed. She is provided breastfeeding education throughout pregnancy.”

While breastfeeding is allowed in public spaces in Oklahoma, many Chickasaw Nation facilities provide rooms where breastfeeding can take place in private, if a mother desires.

“The Chickasaw Nation strives to provide safe, quiet places for breastfeeding,” Taylor said. “These are known as breastfeeding lounges or mother’s rooms. We chose to use the Chickasaw Community Center in Ada for the breastfeeding awareness event because it is one of the many Chickasaw Nation facilities that accommodates breastfeeding mothers by having a mother’s room on-site.”

For the first six months of a child’s life, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding. This means the infant receives only breast milk from their mother, expressed breast milk or donor milk. No other foods or drinks, with the exception of vitamins, mineral supplements or medicines, are offered during this time.

“Providing a baby with breast milk while baby is separated from mom can be hard for mothers who work,” Taylor said. “The Chickasaw Nation allows mothers who work within the Chickasaw Nation time to pump breast milk for their babies while on the job.”

Breastfeeding has many advantages for babies. It provides antibodies from mother to the child, protecting against sickness. Breast milk also reduces the risk of allergic conditions in babies and is also easily digestible, meaning the child has little to no constipation or diarrhea. Breast milk changes to meet the changing developmental dietary needs of the baby.

A mother’s body formulates the right quality of enriched food for babies, while formula and other foods contain nutrients in differing amounts and quality.

For WIC participants, breast pumps are available in any of the Chickasaw Nation WIC Clinics in Ada, Ardmore, Tishomingo, Sulphur, Pauls Valley, Purcell and Duncan. These pumps provide mothers an opportunity to store breast milk for later needs when they return to work, school or are separated from their baby due to hospitalization or illness.

A WIC Mobile Clinic provides services to remote areas within the Chickasaw Nation. The WIC van, which has been closed for two years due to COVID-19, will resume services in September.

“The WIC Mobile Clinic is available for community outreach and to deliver WIC services to remote areas within the Chickasaw Nation,” Taylor said. “We plan on visiting many locations including Newcastle, Waurika, Madill and Kingston this year.”

To ensure a baby gets enough milk, a mother needs to be confident and know that her milk is the safest, soundest nutritional choice. If a mother you know is having difficulty breastfeeding, please refer them to Chickasaw Nation WIC staff or other lactation consultants.

WIC is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded food and nutrition education program.

For more information about the World Breastfeeding Week celebration event Aug. 3, or to learn more about breastfeeding, contact (888) 439-8970 or visit