August is Breastfeeding Awareness month, and the week of August 1 – 7 is the 20th anniversary of World Breastfeeding Week. This is a good time to remind our community that mother’s milk is nature’s perfect food for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), World Health Organization, and the Institute of Medicine recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. According to the AAP, in the U. S. over 900 infant deaths could be prevented each year if 90% of mothers followed this recommendation.
Children who are breastfed have:
fewer gastrointestinal infections and a decreased risk for celiac disease
lower risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome and other inflammatory bowel diseases
less hospitalizations for respiratory infections
lower incidence of asthma and allergies
less risk of SIDS
lower incidence of childhood leukemia
lower risk of obesity later in life
Breastfeeding is also good for Mom. Mothers who breastfeed may have an easier time taking off “baby weight.” Risks are reduced for developing Type II diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. If you are pregnant or know someone who is, remember that mother’s milk is a baby’s most healthy option right from the start.
Beth Wilcox, RN, Clinical Coordinator at Finger Lakes Health and member of the Ontario County Breastfeeding Partnership Coalition states, “The Family Birth Center staff at Geneva General Hospital promotes the benefits of breastfeeding in their regularly scheduled childbirth classes and provides lactation support for new Moms after childbirth.”
About the Breastfeeding Partnership
The Breastfeeding Partnership is a coalition of Lactation Consultants, Nutritionists, Educators, and Nurses working together to improve the health of our community by promoting breastfeeding in Ontario, Seneca and Yates Counties. The partnership provides free breastfeeding education to medical offices, nurses, and nursing schools. We work closely with area hospitals and businesses in an effort to increase breastfeeding rates through education and policy. The partnership has toolkits available to facilitate the creation of breastfeeding policies in the workplace. For more information, contact Ontario County Public Health Chronic Disease Coordinator at 585-396-4558.