By proclamation, St. Albans City is now officially a Breast-feeding Friendly City. St. Albans is one of only a handful of towns across the U.S. with such a designation. This is something to be celebrated. Not only for what it reflects as a community value, but also for the collaboration that made this proclamation possible. It was a result of public and private partnerships all aiming for a healthier community.
RiseVT works with all aspects of our community, but this project initially came out of collaboration with small businesses. We partner with the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) to designate businesses as Breast-feeding Friendly Employers. This demonstrates a business’s commitment to enable breast-feeding employees to have access to workplace conditions to support their needs, thus positively impacting the employee’s health and their child’s.
While working with Rail City Market on their Breast-feeding Friendly Employer designation, Rail City Market offered to allow the public to come in and use their designated space. This sparked an idea of creating Breast-feeding Friendly Places throughout the City. All that would be required is a welcoming attitude towards breast-feeding and a comfortable chair.
Nancy Hudak, owner of Rail City Market, says,
The idea was presented at the quarterly RiseVT Small Business Umbrella meeting.This group is comprised of small businesses, from one to 50 employees, which are interested in working with RiseVT on employee wellness.The group was enthusiastic about the prospect of small businesses making a big impact in community health.
From there, the vision of Breast-feeding Friendly City grew. Two years ago, RiseVT had worked with the City and Town to provide Breast-feeding Friendly signs for the parks. Northwestern Medical Center is a designated Baby-Friendly Hospital. Franklin County is a leader in the number of Breast-feeding Friendly Employers, with 47 participating. It was a natural progression.
RiseVT aims to collaborate to improve our communities’ health and amplify what is already happening. Rachael Gregory, public health nutritionist at VDH says,
Next time you walk downtown, look for the “Breast-feeding Friendly Place” sign in the window of the following shops:
• Build A Bagel
• Catalyst Coffee Bar
• Chamber of Commerce
• Champlain Valley Area Health Education Center
• Duke’s Fitness
• Franklin County Caring Communities
• Rail City Market
• Main Street Graphics
• Northwestern Medical Center
• ReMax Destinations
• St. Albans City Hall
• Traveled Cup
• What a Yarn
If you would like your own sign, please reach out to Jessica Purvis Frost, RiseVT wellness specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org.