California WIC was one of many organizations involved in handing out free resources about breastfeeding to the community at Watsonville Community Hospital Thursday. — Johanna Miller/The Pajaronian

WATSONVILLE—Hundreds of cars passed through Watsonville Community Hospital’s (WCH) parking lot Thursday for an annual event aiming to promote breastfeeding.

World Breastfeeding Week, held this year Aug. 1-7, was started in 1992 to generate public awareness and support for breastfeeding. WCH has for years observed the global campaign, transitioning to a drive-thru event last year.

“We hand out a bag full of information about breastfeeding and support services,” said Kimberly Dechicchio Sanchez, a nurse leader at WCH. “We also have lactation consultants here. We’re answering any questions people may have.”

A number of organizations were on hand at the event, and even more were involved in putting together the free resource bags. This included Community Bridges’ WIC program, Salud Para La Gente, San Jose Mothers’ Milk Bank, Santa Cruz County Public Health, Second Harvest Food Bank, The Nursing Mother’s Council, Nurse-Family Partnership and Central California Alliance for Health.

“This event helps to get out some of the resources available to the community,” said Jessica Wilkins, a labor and delivery nurse and lactation specialist at WCH. “We believe that breastfeeding is integral to a baby’s nutrition, and the long-term health of the mother as well.”

Wilkins highlighted Santa Cruz County’s ongoing success in supporting newborns and their families.

“All three of our hospitals in the county are baby friendly,” she said. “Which is not common—we are only the second county to achieve that status. We also have a very high rate of breastfeeding initiation within the community.”

To learn more about World Breastfeeding Week visit

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Reporter Johanna Miller grew up in Watsonville, attending local public schools and Cabrillo College before transferring to Pacific University Oregon to study Literature. She covers arts and culture, business, nonprofits and agriculture.


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