We all know that there are a countless number of benefits that comes from making the decision to exclusively breastfeed your child. But I just wanted to highlight a four main benefits that should be encouragement enough to make this decision.
- The joyful bonding with your baby
- Perfect nutrition that only YOU can provide
- Cost savings
- The MANY health benefits for the mother and the baby
Some examples of health benefits include antibodies being transferred from mother to baby that can help protect from several different types of illness and allergies. Breastfeeding for the mother can lower risks for certain health problems such as breast cancer and type 2 diabetes.
For a more comprehensive and explanatory list of all the major benefits of breastfeeding visit breastfeeding.com. It is an amazing source and anybody can learn something new from it! Check it out! You will be surprised of all the different benefits that can come to you as well as your child, not only now, but in the future too!
Remember, breastfeeding is something that requires a lot of practice and getting used to. A lot of women are aware of a lot of the benefits and become discouraged when they don’t have support or have difficulty getting used to the feeling and the routine. Just remember to keep in mind all of these amazing benefits, and the knowledge that breastfeeding gets easier with time; support is also continuing to increase for breastfeeding mothers each day. For any questions regarding breastfeeding, and any other questions regarding women, make sure to check out womenshealth.gov–the federal government source for women’s health information.
While many agree that breastmilk is the best possible form of nutrition for the baby, there are a few rare exceptions when breastfeeding would not be the recommended course to follow for the mother and baby. The CDC recommends that a physician assess the situation in order to determine if a woman’s environmental exposure or a specific medical condition warrants her to interrupt her breastfeeding, or never initiate.
Breastfeeding is NOT advisable if any of these conditions are true:
- An infant has been diagnosed with galactosemia, a rare and genetic metabolic disorder
- The mother:
- Has been infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Is taking antiretroviral medications
- Has untreated, active tuberculosis
- Is infected with human T-cell lymphotropic virus Type I or Type II
- Is using or is dependent on an illicit drug
- Is taking prescribed cancer chemotherapy agents, such as antimetabolites that interfere with DNA replication and cell division
- Is undergoing radiation therapies; however, such nuclear medicine therapies require only a temporary interruption in breastfeeding.
Remember, we are trying to make the best possible decisions for our children. While most of the time, that choice is tobreastfeed sometimes we have to make other decisions to keep our children safe and as healthy as possible. To find out more about if you should or should not breastfeed, or just more about breastfeeding in general, visit the CDC Website or American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Website.
According to recent studies, not only does breastfeeding help to boost your child’s immune system, protect against Chron’s disease, and help keep ear infections away, it has also been found that breastfeeding actually increases your child’s likelihood of achieving a higher social status later in life. The Boyd Orr Study of Diet and Health conducted this study following progress over a span of 60 years. Here is what they found:
Breastfeeding not only increases health, but can increase IQ in the long term, which, in turn, can have a great impact on social status. The study found that those individuals that were breastfeed were 41 percent more successful at moving up the social ladder than those children that were bottle-fed. What’s greater is that the longer the children were breastfed, the more mobility that was seen in social status. The same trend was seen even in comparing siblings where one was breastfed and the other was bottle-fed. The child that was breastfed was found to be 16 percent more likely to move up the social ladder.
The question however still remains, is it the
effect of the breast milk experience or the effect of the bonding experience that is causing these changes? Different theories are known to support both causes.
So, as if there isn’t already enough reason to breastfeed your child, just look at this interesting study and others like itto see that the benefits far surpass their infancy. You could be helping your child prepare for a successful future, before they can even talk!
Even though 42 out of the 50 states protect women’s right to nourish their children in public, 57 percent of the public is reported to be uncomfortable with breastfeeding, and countless women continue to be asked to stop breastfeeding in public areas. How are we supposed to expect breastfeeding rates to increase when people continue to make it difficult for women to make that decision, especially in public areas?
Various stories in the news from remarkable mothers trying to make a difference can set the example for anybody trying to change this negative stigma. Some Texas mothers demonstrated resistance outside of a Texas mall where a security guard told her to cover herself up when she was breastfeeding. These peaceful protests can also be referred to as “nurse-ins”. Another example is a woman who organized a “feed-in” at a local mall in which more than 160 woman participated in.
Check out these and other inspirational stories, and become inspired yourself. Help to generate support and reduce stigma for these women who choose to breastfeed their children. They have a legal right to breastfeed in public and should not be subjected to criticism and mistreatment for exercising their legal right.
As far as Utah is concerned, we have a lot of positive things going for us when it comes to breastfeeding numbers. A big part of that is all the efforts of the Utah Breastfeeding Coalition and the initiatives that they have taken in the state of Utah to promote breastfeeding in the community. Here are a few that they are involved in, and that you can get involved in too!
Ban the bags is actually a national campaign that Utah breastfeeding coalition advocates for to stop formula company marketing in maternity hospitals. Studies have shown that this marketing undermines mothers who choose to breastfeed. Anybody can get involved with the ban the bags campaign and if you would like to in Utah, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the official website to learn more.
This is an event that is held during the month of August, in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week. There are three main goals of the breastfeeding cafe:
- Show that breastfeeding is normal
- Inspire thought and conversation about breastfeeding
- Encourage relationships among breastfeeding advocates
This is a great annual event with something for everyone in the family, and in the community. Organizations and coalitions are encouraged to contact the coalition with questions as well as support. Volunteer opportunities are also available. The breastfeeding cafe blog can be accessed for more information.
Non-Profit Human Milk Bank
The milk-bank task force is a group of individuals that are working to establish a non-profit milk bank in the state of Utah. A milk-bank is a service established for the purpose of collecting, screening, processing, and distributed donated human milk to meet the specific medical needs of individuals for whom it is prescribed. The Utah breastfeeding Coalition has a blog that answers plenty of questions for about general concerns, health and safety concerns, making choices, and those questions specifically that donors may have. For those that want to get involved, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) can help you to help others.
On January 20, 2011 the Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin released this call to action outlining all the steps that need to be taken to remove the obstacles that women are facing in regards to breastfeeding. This call to action included everybody including family, employers, communities, and health care professionals. Some of the steps listed include:
- Communities should expand and improve programs that provide mother-to-mother support and peer counseling.
- Health care systems should ensure that maternity care practices provide education and counseling on breastfeeding. Hospitals should become more “baby-friendly,” by taking steps like those recommended by the UNICEF/WHO’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
- Clinicians should ensure that they are trained to properly care for breastfeeding mothers and babies. They should promote breastfeeding to their pregnant patients and make sure that mothers receive the best advice on how to breastfeed.
- Employers should work toward establishing paid maternity leave and high-quality lactation support programs. Employers should expand the use of programs that allow nursing mothers to have their babies close by so they can feed them during the day. They should also provide women with break time and private space to express breast milk.
- Families should give mothers the support and encouragement they need to breastfeed.
The bottom line, EVERYONE CAN HELP MAKE BREASTFEEDING EASIER. Play your part. Show support.
The baby friendly hospital initiative was a program launched by UNICEF and the WHO in 1991 to ensure that maternity units in hospitals became centers for breastfeeding support for all mothers. In order for facilities to be considered ‘baby friendly’ they must not accept free or low cost breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles or teats, and must meet ten specific steps to support successful breastfeeding. These ten steps are:
- Maintain a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff
- Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants hospital or clinic
- Give infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated
- Practice “rooming in”–allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day
- Encourage unrestricted breastfeeding
- Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic
This process of converting hospitals to baby friendly locations is slow but steady, and is occurring not only nationally, but globally. In the United States, however, there are currently only 73 baby friendly facilities.
The University Hospital in Utah has actually become the first baby friendly hospital in Utah. This is such an amazing thing that needs to be promoted and continued throughout the state. It is also something that needs to be applauded. We need to get the support to open even more of these throughout the state, and help to create “an American culture that values the enduring benefits of breastfeeding and human milk for mothers, babies, and society” –Baby Friendly USA.G