Holzer Health System joins National Institute for Child’s Health Quality (NICHQ) in observing August as Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Each year, this time has been designated to increase awareness and promote the benefits of breastfeeding for the infant, mother and the entire family.
Keeping breastfeeding high on the public health agenda is critical to improving global health. Early and exclusive breastfeeding with introduction of appropriate foods/juices around six months of age ensures that both mothers and infants receive maximum health benefits. Research shows that breastfed infants are less likely to develop a wide range of chronic and short-term conditions, such as ear infections, respiratory illnesses; and mothers have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
Breastfeeding is also good for our planet, as it helps to reduce the amount of waste products and fuel used to manufacture and transport formula. Plastic bottles, nipples, and pacifiers take approximately 200 to 450 years to break down.
“We are committed to help mothers on her journey with breastfeeding classes before birth, an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) on staff, and continued phone/visit support after birth. We also work closely with WIC to help bring breast feeding support to mothers and providers,” shared Jeanna Spears, IBCLC, CLS, Holzer Health System Maternity and Family Center.
Spears adds that breast milk is designed to meet the specific needs of an infant, especially in premature babies. The breast milk of a mother who has given birth to a pre-term infant is formulated for pre-term growth needs. Babies born prematurely miss out on the transplacental delivery of calcium, iron and immunoglobulins that occurs during the third trimester. The only way premature infants can receive the crucial immunoglobulins is through breast milk. A mother who breastfeeds can rest assured that she is providing for her child milk that was designed specifically for her infant.
Laws have been passed to support breastfeeding mothers in the work place as well as in public. There is a growing number of supportive people that a mother can turn to when they have concerns or need encouragement, including La Leche League, a national lay support group for nursing mothers, pediatrician, obstetrician, and a lactation consultant, who has had supplemental training to assist mothers in all aspects of breastfeeding care for mothers and babies.
For more information, or if you have questions about breastfeeding, call the Holzer Maternity and Family Center at (740) 446-5030.