The importance of HPV Vaccination

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Did you know HPV is a common virus that can cause certain cancers later in life? According to CDC, more than 42 million American are currently infected with HPV types that cause disease and about 13 million Americans, including teens, become infected each year.  

What is HPV?  

HPV, also known as Human Papillomavirus, is a common virus that can cause cancers later in life. It is one of the most common sexual transmitted infections (STIs). HPV is spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact. You can get HPV by sexual contact with someone who has the virus, even if they do not have signs or symptoms.  

Who should get vaccinated? 

Children ages 11-12 years should get two doses of HPV vaccine, given 6 to 12 months apart, but HPV vaccines can be given as early as age 9 years. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about getting the HPV vaccine to prevent HPV infections. The vaccine is available for all people—male or female.  

It is recommended that everyone through age 26 should get the HPV vaccine. Adults between ages 27 and 45 years old who were not already vaccinated might still be able to get the HPV vaccine after speaking with their medical provider about their risks for new HPV infections. The HPV vaccine for adults provides less benefit because most people in this age range have already been exposed to HPV at some point.  

Why is vaccination important?  

You can protect your child from certain cancers later in life with the HPV vaccine. The earlier the better! It can protect your child long before they ever have contact with the virus. 

HPV infections can cause certain cancers in both men and women. Some of those are cervix, vagina and vulva cancer in women and penis cancer in men. Both men and women can also get anus and back-of-the-throat cancer. Cancer usually takes years, even decades, to be detected after a person is infected with HPV.  

Are HPV vaccines safe and effective? 

The HPV vaccine can prevent over 90% of cancers caused by this virus and work best when given at age 11-12 years, before contact with the HPV virus.  

HPV vaccination is safe! More than 135 million doses of HPV vaccines have been distributed throughout the states since they were licensed. Also, 15 years of monitoring have shown that HPV vaccines are very safe and effective in protecting against the HPV types targeted by the vaccine. For more information about HPV vaccination please visit, HPV Vaccine Safety | CDC.  

For more resources please visit: 

https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/index.html

HPV Resources, Education, and References | CDC 

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine Information (immunize.org) 


Connecting the Dots: Youth Alcohol Awareness!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Did you know, April is Alcohol Awareness Month? If you haven’t already, now may be a good time to reflect on your drinking patterns and the role that alcohol plays in your life.

This year’s theme is “Connecting the Dots: Opportunity for Recovery, which focuses primarily on youth education and prevention. This specific group of individuals can be easily influenced by alcohol and other substances if not educated or informed about risks. For this reason, we are asking you to join us this month to help raise awareness in our communities, schools, and homes on alcohol use. 

Our youth in Skagit County

According to the 2021 Healthy Youth Survey, Alcohol use has been reported by youth as young as 6th grade, and prevalence of regular use increases each year. By 12th grade, approximately 1 in 5 12th graders reported drinking in the past month. This can be for many reasons, perhaps one being that children in these grades are not getting enough information about alcohol.

Why is it important?

Research shows that heavy alcohol use during teen years can permanently damage the still developing brain. Alcohol use at a young age is also associated with violence, poor school performance, suicide, and risky sexual behavior. The use of alcohol at this early age can lead to possible substance abuse later in life and Alcohol use disorder (AUD), which affects about 15 million adults in the United States. There are more than 380 deaths each day in the U.S. due to excessive alcohol use, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the nation.

Looking for something positive? Research also shows that about 50% of children who have conversations with parents about risks are less likely to use drugs and alcohol, than those who do not. That’s why “connecting the dots” with your child, sibling, cousin, niece, or nephew is so important.

What can we do to help spread awareness?

Although one month out of the year is not enough time to help educate and help everyone recover, continue to spread the word about the importance of alcohol awareness to friends and family.

Get creative and make informational flyers about the topic with resources and distribute them around your neighborhood town, local stores etc. Host a fundraiser to donate money to local non-profit treatment facilities.

For more information please visit:

Alcohol Awareness Month | AlcoholAwareness.org

Alcohol Awareness Month: Learn About Alcohol Use Disorder and Ways to Get Help | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) (nih.gov)

Skagit County | Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute (uw.edu)

HYS Fact Sheets (askhys.net)

Alcohol and Public Health | CDC


5 Tips for Better Sleep: Children & Daylight Saving Time

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We’ve all been talking about March 12th for over a week now—the date that the statewide mask mandate ends here in Washington. But there’s another important event taking place this weekend: Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, March 13th.

When you go to bed on Saturday, be sure to set your clocks an hour forward as we spring into Spring! And for those with kids out there…now may be a good time to start getting prepared for the change. After all, going to bed earlier can be tough for even grown adults—especially when the sun begins to set a bit later each evening.

If you’re a parent looking to keep the breakdowns at bay, keep reading for 5 tips to get your child prepared for Daylight Saving Time this Sunday.

1. Shift their schedule

If you can start a few days in advance, you may be able to slowly nudge sleep to where you need it. Try to start a few days to a week before and move bedtime by 15 minutes at a time every two days. Keep this trick in mind for nap times too, moving them forward by 15 minutes every two days if possible.

If your child won’t have it, focus on the act of calming down instead of sleeping. Even if your child’s eyes aren’t closed, just the act of slowing down, getting their PJs on, and relaxing can make a big difference.  

2. Control the light

Daylight Saving Time can throw our natural cycle out of whack a bit, and this can be particularly difficult for children. Counteract this by being mindful of light exposure!

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your body’s internal circadian clock. It increases in the evening as it becomes dark, which helps induce sleep. During the daytime, light can increase wakefulness and alertness.

Even if the sun is still out at bedtime, you can mimic nighttime buy dimming the lights in your home leading up to bedtime. This goes for electronics too, which should be turned off about 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. You may also want to consider putting up black-out curtains in your child’s bedroom, especially if their bedroom window is west-facing.

In the morning, be sure to get your kids outside and expose them to some sunshine! You can also let sunlight into their room every morning to help “reset” their circadian rhythm.

3. Stick with routine

All parents know how important routines are for kids. When Daylight Saving Time begins or ends, it’s especially important to stick with a bedtime routine. A consistent routine can be a powerful signal for sleep—a process for calming down and soothing your kiddo prior to lights out.

Don’t have a bedtime routine? Try giving your child a warm bath at nighttime, followed by a calming story time and snuggle. When done consistently each evening, your kids will learn to associate these activities with sleepy time.

4. Wear them out

When is this NOT important for good sleep!? Get those kiddos moving during the daytime in order to ensure an easier—and maybe earlier—bedtime! The night or two leading up to Daylight Saving Time, make it a point to increase day-time activity, and when possible, get your kids outdoors. Everyone sleeps better after some fresh air, even if rain may be in our forecast.

Be sure to wind down at least 30 minutes leading up to bedtime though, to ensure that your kiddos aren’t overstimulated and overtired. Nothing is worse than an overtired child, after all!

5. Be patient  

Change takes time. If you’re working to reset sleep schedules, try to be more forgiving if your child is throwing extra temper tantrums and seems to be particularly difficult. Keep in mind that this shift can cause such short-term changes in your child’s mood, but that these changes are temporary.

It’s also important to remember to take care of yourself, too! If you’re feeling tired or cranky, make sure to give your body what it needs. If sleep is difficult or if your kids are trying to pull all-nighters (as they do), try not to overcompensate with caffeine throughout the day. Instead, remember to eat well, get active, and drink plenty of water.  


February is Children’s Dental Health Month

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It’s February and you know what that means…National Children’s Dental Health Month! This month-long national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated professionals, healthcare providers, and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers and many others.

Did you know that cavities (also known as tooth decay) are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood? Untreated cavities can cause pain, infections, and can lead to problems eating, speaking, and learning. In the United States, about 1 in 5 children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. In children 12 to 19 years old, it is closer to 1 in 7.

From the data above, we know that cavities are quite common in youngsters. The good news though is that cavities are preventable! If you’re a parent or caregiver, read on for some easy ways to prevent your child from developing cavities.

When thinking about your child’s dental health, think about the P-E-A-R-L-S of Wisdom:

PROTECT tiny teeth. Hey moms—did you know that your child’s future oral health starts with you? A mother’s oral health status is a strong predictor of her children’s oral health status. Oral health during pregnancy and infancy is especially important to set little ones up for a lifetime of good health. Experts recommend regular dental checkups before and during pregnancy.

ENSURE to wipe your baby’s gums after each meal. Even before those first little teeth appear, proper oral hygiene is a must! Cleaning decay-causing bacteria from your baby’s mouth on a regular basis can act as a safeguard to help protect teeth that have not yet erupted.

AVOID putting babies to bed with a bottle. Tooth decay can occur when a baby is put to bed with a bottle. Infants should finish their naptime or bedtime bottle before going to bed.

REMEMBER to brush your child’s teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. For children younger than 2 years, consult with your dentist or doctor about when to start using fluoride toothpaste.

LIMIT drinks and food with added sugars for children. Encourage your child to eat more fruits and vegetables and have fewer fruit drinks, cookies, and candies. This gives your child the best possible start to good oral health.

SCHEDULE your child’s first dental visit by their first birthday or after their first tooth appears. Their tiny teeth matter! Check out one of our past blog posts for more information about why baby teeth matter.

For more tips on preventing cavities and promoting oral health, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/childrens-oral-health/index.html.

Looking for resources?

Families with children ages five and younger can call Skagit County’s ABCD program at (360) 416-1500 for help finding dental care for their children. For families who quality, some benefits of the program include:

  • An initial dental exam
  • Two dental exams per year (6 months apart)
  • Three fluoride varnish applications per year
  • Two parent education sessions per child per year
  • Fillings and other dental work (as needed)  

For more information about the ABCD program, visit our webpage at: https://www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/HealthFamily/dental.htm.


Teen Substance Use Prevention Starts with a Conversation

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Research suggests that one of the most important factors in healthy child development is a strong, open relationship with a parent or caregiver. Believe it or not, parents and caregivers are the most powerful influence in a child’s life and can make a huge impact when it comes to youth substance use prevention.

Parents and caregivers need to start talking to their children about alcohol and other drugs before they are exposed to them—typically in the early preteen years. But before you get talking, it is important to get prepared. Before beginning the conversation with your child, consider: What are your goals or what you like your child to walk away with?

If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of talking to your child about alcohol or other drugs, start with a game plan. Keep reading for a list of 5 helpful goals for when you talk to your child.

1. Show you disapprove of underage drinking and other drug misuse.

Studies have shown that over 80 percent of young people ages 10–18 say their parents are the leading influence on their decision whether to drink. It is important to send a clear and strong message that you disapprove of underage drinking and misuse of other drugs.

It is recommended that parents begin talking to their children about alcohol at 9 years of age. Need some ideas for how to start this conversation with your child? Check out Start Talking Now for some conversation starters.

2. Show you care about your child’s health, wellness, and success.

Young people are more likely to listen and internalize your message when they know you’re on their side. Reinforce why you don’t want your child to drink or use other drugs—because you want your child to be happy and safe. The conversation will go a lot better if you’re open and you show concern.

Children are also less likely to drink or use marijuana or other drugs when their parents or caregivers are involved in their lives and when they feel a close connection. Some ways to increase or improve family bonding include:

  • Giving your kids at least 15 minutes of one-on-one time every day
  •  Doing fun things together
  •  Giving positive feedback about the healthy choices your child makes
  •  Eating as a family five times per week

3. Show you’re a good source of information about alcohol and other drugs.

You want your child to make informed decisions about alcohol and other drugs with reliable information about their dangers. So where are they getting their information?

You wouldn’t want your child to learn about alcohol and other drugs from potentially unreliable sources—from friends or social media. So, establish yourself as a trustworthy source of information!

After all, kids who learn a lot about the risks of alcohol and other drugs at home are less likely to use. In Washington, 85.3% of 10th graders who report having clear family rules about alcohol and drugs don’t drink (Healthy Youth Survey, 2018).

So, before you begin the conversation, make sure you have the facts! To get started, visit Start Talking Now.

4. Show you’re paying attention and you’ll discourage risky behaviors.

Show that you’re aware of what your child is up to, as young people are more likely to drink or use other drugs if they think no one will notice or that there will be no repercussions. If possible, try to do this in a subtle way, without prying.

The best way to monitor your child’d behavior and stay engaged in their daily life is by having a conversation. Try asking some of these questions when they spend time with their friends:

  •  Where are you going?
  •  What will you be doing?
  •  Who will be with you?
  •  When will you be home?
  •  Will there be alcohol, marijuana or other drugs?

5. Build your child’s skills and strategies for avoiding underage drinking and drug use.

Even if you don’t think your child wants to drink or try other drugs, peer pressure is a powerful thing. Having a plan to avoid alcohol and drug use can help children make better choices. Talk with your child about what they would do if faced with a decision about alcohol and drugs.

You can help your child practice how to say “no” by visiting Start Talking Now.

Making sure that your child knows that they can come to you when they need you is also critical. Plan ahead—talk to your child about what they should do if they find themselves in a dangerous situation. Maybe it’s texting a code word for a no-questions-asked pick up.

Thankfully, you don’t need to accomplish all of the goals listed above in one conversation. It is important to chat about these topics frequently and beginning at a young age. In the end, the most important goal is to make sure that your child knows that they can come to you when they have questions or when they need help.


Want to get involved in teen substance use prevention initiatives in your community? Find out more about our local prevention coalitions:

Mount Vernon
MV HOPEhttps://mvhope.com/
Coalition Coordinator – Bethany Sparkle (b.sparkle@skagitymca.org)

Burlington
Burlington Healthy Community Coalition – https://www.facebook.com/Burlington-Healthy-Community-Coalition-105142296193 
Coalition Coordinator – Liz Wilhelm (liz.wilhelm@unitedgeneral.com)

Sedro-Woolley
Sedro-Woolley RISE – https://www.facebook.com/SedroWoolleyRISE
Coalition Coordinator – Samantha Stormont (sstormont@swsd101.org)

Concrete
Concrete Resource Coalition – https://www.facebook.com/concreteresourcecoalition
Coalition Coordinator – Marlena White (marlena.white@unitedgeneral.org


Get to know the Bridges Program!

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Did you know that Washington is a Work First state? This means that every person, no matter their ability, deserves the opportunity to pursue meaningful work and live the life they want to live.

Skagit County’s Developmental Disabilities Program exists to foster inclusive communities that support people with developmental disabilities to fully participate in and contribute to all aspects of community life. One of the ways that we do this is by providing the Bridges Program for Skagit County transition-age students (18-21 years old) who are enrolled in a school-based transition program.

Bridges is a no-cost program designed to ensure that transition students are connected and familiar with the services and resources they can utilize to receive long-term support to achieve their employment goals. They are also connected with a supported employment provider who helps guide them through a person-centered planning process to identify long-term and short-term goals, and to help them navigate applications to a variety of agencies who can fund employment supports once a student graduates.

The ultimate goal is for a student to be employed in a job that fits their interests and skills by the end of their final year of transition.

Want to know more about how you can be involved in the Bridges Program? Contact Jen Smith, Skagit County’s Transition Specialist, at (360) 416-1520 or jrsmith@co.skagit.wa.us.

Skagit County Bridges Program

Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available at the Fairgrounds

Reading Time: 2 minutes

November 3, 2021

Skagit County Public Health is ecstatic to announce that pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now available at its drive-through Testing and Vaccine Site at the Fairgrounds. This announcement follows the FDA’s endorsement on October 29, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices unanimous vote on November 2, and the subsequent support of the Western States Scientific Review Workgroup and the Washington State Department of Health.  

Children are not immune to this virus and the great challenges it poses to everyday life. The CDC’s latest data show that 172 children ages 5 to 11 have died from COVID-19 and more than 8,300 have been hospitalized. Science also does not yet know the long term impacts children could face from having contracted and recovered from COVID-19.

“In Skagit County, approximately 25 percent of all our COVID-19 cases between September 5 and October 23 were in school age children. Pediatric vaccines will be a game changer in our fight against this virus.”

Howard Leibrand, Skagit County Health Officer

Pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is available to children 5-11 years old at the Fairgrounds by appointment only. Parents and caregivers can now make an appointment by going to https://prepmod.doh.wa.gov/ and searching for “Skagit County Public Health” under Name of Location. Appointments are limited at this time. If, when you search, there are no appointments available, please check back the following Monday around 12:00pm.

Parents/caregivers may also check with other providers about availability. For a full list of local vaccination providers, go to Vaccine Locator or call the COVID-19 Information Hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press #.

The Fairgrounds is located at 501 Taylor Street in Mount Vernon and operates on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 3pm to 7pm. Parent/guardian consent to vaccinate is required for all dependent minors and must be provided in-person at the time of the appointment.

COVID-19 vaccines are provided at no-cost, and no insurance required. For more information about the site, go to: www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine or call (360) 416-1500.


Is it safe to Trick-or-Treat this Halloween?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

UPDATE: The CDC is currently in the process of updating its Holiday Guidance. We will update the information below if recommendations change for Halloween 2021.

It’s October, and you know what that means: HALLOWEEN! And since last year was a bit of a dud, it’s no wonder that people have some questions about this year’s trick-or-treating prospects.

This year is different in many ways from Halloween of 2020. Last October, we were still a few months away from any sort of COVID vaccine. This year, our vaccination rates are sitting at just over 72 percent for Skagitonians 12 years and older, and more people are choosing to get vaccinated each day.

Unfortunately, this October, our case and hospitalization rates are also higher than they’ve ever been throughout the pandemic. Though our vaccination rates are promising, we still have approximately 37 percent of our entire population unvaccinated, including kiddos under 11 who are not yet eligible. This means that we still have many Skagitonians who do not have protection against the virus and are at increased risk.

For this reason, it makes sense that people would have some reservations about going out on the 31st. So, is Halloween safe this year? Well … the answer is, like most things these days, not super straight forward.

To Trick-or-Treat, or not?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has given the “okay” for children nationwide to trick-or-treat this Halloween—one year after it advised against the tradition last year due to coronavirus concerns. That said, there are a few caveats to consider.

Experts say it’s still best to take precautionary measures for Halloween given that most trick-or-treating children are younger than 11 years old and thus, still unvaccinated. If children do go trick-or-treating, it is recommended that they do so in small groups. Also, when possible, it is best to avoid scenarios where many people are concentrated in a central location.

The CDC has published a helpful guide for people planning to trick-or-treat this year. Some tips for safe trick-or-treating include:

For people passing out candy:

  • Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
  • Give out treats outdoors, if possible.
  • Set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take.
  • Wash hands before handling treats.
  • And of course, wear a mask!

For kids collecting candy:

  • Wear a mask!
    • PRO TIP: Make the mask a part of the costume! But remember, costume masks are not a substitute for a well-fitting cloth mask.
    • Remember: Kids younger than two years of old should never wear a mask to decrease the risk of suffocation.
  • Wash or sanitize hands frequently. Before settling down to devour treats, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Maintain distance by staying at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.

What about fall festivals and Halloween parties?

In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, like Skagit County, it is recommended that people two years and older wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings and while attending outdoor activities where close contact with others is expected. This would include your fall festivals, pumpkin patches, trunk-or-treating events, and the like.

If planning to go to a large event outdoors, please know that the statewide mask mandate requires that masks are worn at large outdoor events of 500 or more people. This includes all people five years and older, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status.   

In general, folks are asked to avoid large Halloween parties this year, especially parties taking place indoors with people from multiple households. When getting together, gathering outdoors is much safer than gathering indoors.

For those who choose to gather indoors, please:

  • Wear a well-fitted face mask
  • Keep your distance (6 feet or more)
  • Ventilate the space by opening doors and windows

If gathering in an indoor public space this year, know that the statewide mandate requires that masks be worn by all people five and older, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status.

What’s the best thing to do to prepare for fall and winter festivities?

The principles of this pandemic really do continue to hold. Outdoor gatherings are better than indoor gatherings, ventilation is important, and masking remains crucial.

But above all else, the best thing you can do right now is to get vaccinated. This is the easiest thing that you can do to keep yourself, and your loved ones, safe this fall and winter. And while you’re at it, get your flu shot, too!

Getting vaccinated now will help make this Halloween better than last year’s and will ensure many spooky-fun Halloweens to come. Want to be fully vaccinated in time for the 31st? You still have time! Get your single-dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine by October 17th, and you’re covered!

Ready to get your shot? Go to https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/ or stop by the Skagit County Fairgrounds on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday between 3-7pm.

For more holiday gathering guidance, go to the CDC’s webpage at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/index.html.


Looking for Child Care in Skagit County? There’s Help Available!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Anyone who’s ever had to pay for child care will tell you the same thing: child care is expensive! If you’ve ever struggled to pay for the cost of child care or needed to make compromises to make ends meet, you wouldn’t be alone. With the added challenges posed by the pandemic, many parents and caregivers are looking for help—even those who never needed assistance before.

But did you know that on May 7th of this year, the Governor signed the Fair Start for Kids Act—a historic legislation meant to strengthen Washington’s child care system by assisting families with young children and licensed child care programs? This new legislation is BIG for those who take care of our most precious residents. So, let’s talk about what this means for Washington state families.

For families, the Fair Start for Kids Act does the following:

State median income by household size.
  1. It increases the number of families who will qualify for financial assistance to pay for child care!
    Beginning October 1st, 2021, income eligibility will be raised, with new limits tied to the state median income instead of the federal poverty level. This means that a family of four can earn up to $5,139 per month (which is 60% of the state median income) and still qualify for help.
  2. It will reduce family child care copays to a maximum of $115 per month!
    Beginning October 1st, 2021 through the end of 2022, child care copays for families with state child care assistance will be reduced to a maximum of $115 per month. Some families may even pay less! And starting in 2023, these copays will be capped at 7% of one’s household income.

Did you know that there is even more help available to those who qualify?

Aside from the Fair Start for Kids Act, there are other opportunities for financial assistance here in Washington state. Washington Connection offers a fast and easy way for families and individuals to apply for a variety of services such as Food, Cash, Child Care, Long-Term Care, and Medicare Savings Programs.

To see if you qualify for child care assistance (or any other type of assistance listed above), go here.

So you’ve got finances figured out but you don’t know what child care services are available in your area?

Screenshot from Child Care Aware WA search function.

Once again—you’re not alone! If you’ve recently moved to a new town or you’re looking to put your kiddo in child care for the first time, there is help available.

Washington State has a centralized child care information and assistance service called Child Care Aware WA. Here, you can find a list of licensed child care providers in your area, with contact information, hours of operation, ages accepted, and quality ratings. You can also access information about financial assistance available to families in Washington, as well as guidance for how to select child care.

To search for a provider near you, click here.

Want to talk with someone about your options? Call the Family Center at 1-800-4461114. This free service is available Monday through Friday between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm.

Need before or after-school care for your school-age kiddo?

Skagit Kid Insider is a great resource available to you for local options! Here you can find a helpful list of before and after-school care programs here in Skagit County. The YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and more local organizations offer safe places for kids when they can’t be at home. Many of these providers are even located right at your child’s school or at a location nearby!


Finding safe, reliable—and affordable—child care can be an overwhelming process, even under normal circumstances. Thankfully, there are people and agencies available who want to help!

If, after calling the Family Center Helpline at 1-800-446-1114 and reviewing available options online, you still need more assistance, we’ve got you! Call or text 360-630-8352 or email helpmegrowskagit@gmail.com to speak with someone at HelpMeGrow Skagit. You can also fill out an online form here and you will be contacted by one of their staff promptly.


Every Step of the Way: National Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Reading Time: 2 minutes

When we envision a newborn baby and mother, most people will instantly conjure up an image of mommy and baby sitting quietly in a cozy chair, looking at one another with love-filled eyes. Both are calm and content, happily playing their given roles.

For those who haven’t experienced infant feeding first-hand, it is no wonder that this image is considered the norm! This image of the peaceful pair is what is typically depicted in TV shows and movies. It is also—incredibly enough—the type of image that appears in so many pregnancy books and gynecologist offices.

It is not surprising that many parents first entering the journey of child-rearing expect the act of breastfeeding—or any feeding, for that matter—to be so much easier than it actually can be.

When I had my first child, I was astounded by the fact that it took my body two days to get the memo that the baby had been born. I sat up those first to nights in tears thinking that my baby would starve to death under my watchful care. Though I had read in the books that it could take a few days before one’s milk came in, when living it, all those words go right out of the window. And while those first few weeks were bumpy at best, it did get easier in time. 

Now, two children in and several years wiser, I know two things to be certain:

1. Breastfeeding can be extremely rewarding; and 

2. Breastfeeding can be extremely challenging!

This month, people across the United States are celebrating National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. While this is a time for people to celebrate the act of breastfeeding, it is also an opportunity for people to stop and think about what each and every one of us can do to make breastfeeding a bit easier for parents and caregivers.

In preparation for this year’s awareness month, a group of Skagitonians have gotten together to draft a proclamation declaring August as National Breastfeeding Month. In this proclamation, the Skagit County Breastfeeding Coalition recognizes the abundant health and bonding benefits of breastfeeding, while also recognizing how difficult breastfeeding can sometimes be for parents and caregivers in our community.

While I struggled to adjust to motherhood during those early days…the football hold, the latching, the midnight pumping, the many tears…I was thankful for the those who supported me in my breastfeeding journey. There are so many things that can act as a barrier to breastfeeding and can jeopardize a person’s chances at a happy and sustainable breastfeeding experience. Our friends, family, work environment, and policies can all affect the likelihood that a parent will continue to breastfeed; an important fact that was never once covered in my pregnancy books.

In Skagit County, there are resources and supports available to new parents—many of which are breastfeeding-positive and inclusive. That said, it is the hope of this proclamation, and this year’s Breastfeeding Awareness Month, that many barriers to breastfeeding that currently exist in our community are removed in the days, months, and years to come.

Are you pregnant, preparing for a baby, or a new parent?

For a list of local resources—classes, support groups, clinics, and home visiting programs—go to: https://skagitbreastfeeding.org/resources/.

#

Proclamation Recognizing August as Breastfeeding Awareness Month | SKAGIT COUNTY
Tuesday, August 10th at 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
This event is open to the public!
Attend virtually: https://www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/CountyCommissioners/main.htm#A
Attend in-person: Commissioner’s Hearing Room, 1800 Continental Place, Suite 100
Mount Vernon, WA 98273.
Masks are required for all individuals 5 years and older, regardless of vaccination status.