World Breastfeeding Week is always celebrated Aug. 1-7.
During this week, we want to take the time to highlight the importance and benefits of breastfeeding.
It has been proven that mothers do have more success breastfeeding their babies when they have support. Therefore, support from all community members is very important. Success is simply not defined as just the mother breastfeeding for six months; it extends throughout life for both mom and baby, decreasing chronic and acute diseases. A proven success seen years later. It is also very important that our moms in the community know where to go for breastfeeding support.
Although, breastfeeding is a learned behavior, it is important to remember for this job to be successful; women must have the support of their family, health care providers, governments, employers and communities. If a woman has access to, and support from, healthcare providers, family, friends, in her community, her questions and problems get resolved sooner. Not only does support help with breastfeeding, but mothers and babies become more satisfied with their breastfeeding experience. Thus, continuing on with maximum benefits for both parties.
A recommendation made by both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), is that babies should exclusively be breastfed, for the first six months of life. As stated earlier, babies that are breastfed have lower rates of chronic and acute diseases that include ear infections, diarrheal diseases, asthma, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and respiratory illnesses. Another plus, mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Many programs and initiatives have taken place over the last 20 years that have helped lead the way to protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is definitely a program that does just that! The WIC program has seen the most significant increases in breastfeeding initiation rates over the past 20 years (Ryan and Wenjun 2002). Within those last 20 years, many chronic and acute diseases and conditions have subsided. Again, proving breastfed babies have the best start.
If you need help or support with breastfeeding, or to also see if you qualify for the WIC program, feel free to contact the Clark County Health Department at 859-744-4482 or visit us online at www.clarkhealthdept.org and like us on Facebook.