August is National Breastfeeding Month, declared in 2011 by the United States Breastfeeding Committee, to improve the Nation’s health and support mothers in their breastfeeding goals. Breastfeeding is the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need to grow and develop. Breastfeeding is proven to benefit the health of newborns, lower the infants risk from illnesses, including asthma, childhood obesity, ear infections, and diabetes. It is also a practice that benefits the mother of the baby and even society!
Mothers who participate in breastfeeding tend to lose weight much easier. Breastfeeding also lowers a mother’s risk of type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancers, and ovarian cancer. Society also benefits from breastfeeding. It saves lives, saves money, and allows for a more productive workforce. It is also better for the environment, using renewable milk and creating less trash and plastic waste.
The American Academy of Breastfeeding strongly encourages mothers to exclusively breastfeed “for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.” The AAP views breastfeeding no longer as a lifestyle choice, but a public health issue due to the “documented short and long-term medical and neurodevelopmental advantages of breastfeeding.”
While breastfeeding is recommended, it is not always the best option for all mothers. What’s most important is nourishing your baby to live a healthy and happy life! Choose what works best for you and know your options. Learn more about the benefits available to you through the Affordable Care Act.
Utilize Your Resources!
Adventist HealthCare has a wide variety of resources and education available to you
- Adventist Shady Grove Medical Center is a designated Baby Friendly Hospital by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund.
- B.E.S.T. (Breastfeeding, Education, Support and Togetherness) is a support group that has been running weekly almost 20 years!
- Washington Adventist Hospital has a Monthly Hecho de Pecho breastfeeding support group in Spanish.
- Speak with an Adventist HealthCare expert about your breastfeeding questions, or schedule an appointment with a certified lactation consultant. Call 240-826-MOMS (6667).
Sources: American Academy of Breastfeeding, Health Foundations Birth Center, Office on Women’s Health, United States Breastfeeding Committee Lifework Strategies, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource