Convention Center honored during World Breastfeeding Week

Convention Center honored during World Breastfeeding Week

📅August 3rd, 2015, 13:54
General Manager Mary Bogert with Knox County Health Department's Sara Griswold (Ieft) and Martha Buchanan (right).

General Manager Mary Bogert with Knox County Health Department’s Sara Griswold (Ieft) and Martha Buchanan (right).

At the Knoxville Convention Center, we always have made every effort to be supportive of nursing mothers and growing families among our employees and guests. We were honored to be recognized for those policies at the local kickoff to World Breastfeeding Week at Ijams Nature Center on July 31.

The kickoff event to World Breastfeeding Week grew significantly this year, more than doubling its past participation. I was very proud to attend the event and accept the Marcie Singleton Award from the East Tennessee Breastfeeding Coalition and Knox County Health Department. The award is given to individuals and businesses that support breastfeeding mothers and their families.

The Knoxville Convention Center was honored in part for a new nursing mother’s room that we are opening at our facility the first week of August during World Breastfeeding Week. The room features a private, calm environment where new mothers will feel welcome and at ease. We are one of the few convention centers in the country to have a permanent room dedicated for this service.

Before this designated room, the Convention Center made space available to nursing mothers, but now the room will be publicly accessible with signage throughout the facility. Mothers will know it is available without having to seek assistance or special accommodations.

At the event Sherri Hedberg, chair of the East Tennessee Breastfeeding Coalition, said as she looking at 150 mothers committed to breastfeeding their children, “As a longtime breastfeeding advocate, while the picture has changed over the past 20 years that I have been working in this field, it is just as beautiful as it ever was. Breastfeeding is important to the community as a whole and is a public health issue.”

Because of the importance of support for breastfeeding as a public health initiative, the Knox County Health Department also was present at the event to recognize the women and businesses who support breastfeeding mothers.

“From a public health perspective, breastfeeding lays the foundation for a healthy life for our children,” said Dr. Martha Buchanan, director of the Knox County Health Department. “Your support today helps shed light on the benefits of breastfeeding and the importance of community support.”

The Marcie Singleton Award was named after a former nutrition director and breastfeeding coordinator for the Knox County Health Department’s WIC program. A tireless advocate for family health, Singleton’s family said she was “saving the world one baby at a time.” We are proud to be honored with an award named after such an inspiring individual.

When we cut the ribbon next week, the Marcie Singleton Award will have a place of honor in our new nursing mother’s room. Thank you to the City of Knoxville and Mayor Madeline Rogero for supporting us in this initiative and to the Knox County Health Department and the East Tennessee Breastfeeding Coalition for this award.