World Breastfeeding Week is just around the corner again. It will be Aug.1-7.
It is recommended that a woman breastfeed for the first six months of life following with continued breastfeeding and adding complementary foods for up to 2 years of age and beyond. It is also recommended that mom and baby have early and uninterrupted skin to skin contact. This has been proven to improve neonatal survival and a vast reduction in morbidity.
All mothers who wish to breastfeed should be supported early on and educated during pregnancy. It is important that the baby go to breast within the first hour after delivery if possible. This helps to initiate as well as establish breastfeeding and helps to combat common breastfeeding problems.
The key to improving breastfeeding rates is counseling. Having access to a skilled breastfeeding counselor helps to extend the duration of breastfeeding and can promote exclusive breastfeeding. This benefits not only moms and babies, but also families and the economy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, mothers needed access to skilled support counselors for breastfeeding help more than ever before. The pandemic forced healthcare workers into being able to find other ways to reach their clients and people in need of help like never before, face to face was not an option many times, so virtual contact and many calls have been the source of help. It is imperative that countries all over continue to try to come up with imaginative solutions that includes e-counseling and the ongoing support to provide the skilled breastfeeding support to mothers in need.
As always, with World Breastfeeding Week, keep in mind the many benefits to both infant and mom. These benefits include fewer ear infections, less gas, constipation as well as diarrhea, less risk of pneumonia and sudden infant death syndrome. It lessens the risk of childhood obesity and diabetes, just to name a few.
Breastfed babies are happy babies. They get to know their mothers from the very start and feel very safe in mom’s arms. They are smarter and have better brain development as well as doing better on IQ tests.
Mothers who breastfeed are healthier as well. They have less risk of postpartum depression, as well as less risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer.
Last but not least the bond between mom and baby is impeccable. Breastfeeding, hands down is the simplest as well as the safest way to feed your baby.
For more information or questions call Jennifer Luker, breastfeeding program manager with the Jackson County Department of Public Health, at 587-8243.