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The first week of August is International Breastfeeding Awareness Week. The Douglas County Health Department believes that breastfeeding is so important so we are dedicating the entire month of August to breastfeeding awareness.
The Douglas County Health Department understands that deciding to breastfeed is a decision only you can make. It deserves careful thought. We want you to have the information you need for such an important decision.
Experts agree that breastfeeding your baby for any length of time, no matter how short it is, will provide rewards for both you and your baby. Breast milk is the natural food source for infants.
Breastfeeding goes smoothly for most people. For others, it may take time and practice. However, with help from nurses, breastfeeding experts, your doctor, or support groups, you can enjoy the benefits and rewards of breastfeeding.
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for the first 6 months of life. It contains the right amounts of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. It provides the digestive proteins (enzymes), minerals, vitamins, and hormones infants need. Breast milk also contains antibodies from the mother that can help the baby resist infections such as meningitis and the flu.
Infants who breastfeed are also less likely to have:
• Ear infections
• Gas, diarrhea, and constipation
• Skin diseases (infantile eczema)
• Stomach or intestinal infections
• Wheezing, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis
Breastfed babies may have less risk for developing:
• Obesity or weight problems
• Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
• Tooth decay
Moms who breastfeed their babies also enjoy some benefits and rewards. For instances, a unique bond between mother and child. Easier weight loss after childbirth than non-breastfeeding moms. Breastfeeding also decreases the chance of bleeding after childbirth.
Breastfeeding can save time and money, including:
• Lower cost for feedings, around $1,500 savings per year
• No bottle cleaning
• No formula preparation (breast milk is always available at the right temperature)
• Reduced risk of breast cancer, some types of ovarian cancer, and osteoporosis
While you are breastfeeding, you will not have to worry if the food your baby is getting contains pesticides or other contaminants Breastmilk has no preservatives or added sugars; it is the perfect food for your baby.
Some circumstances can change your plans to breastfeed. How and what your baby eats may depend on the infant’s physical condition and your health after birth. However, with help from a consultant, most babies – even premature babies – can breastfeed.
Remember, August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month and the Douglas County Health Department invites all expectant mothers to breastfeed their babies. We have breastfeeding information available and would be happy to help you find the answers to your breastfeeding questions. We also extend an invitation to all Douglas County residents to be supportive of breastfeeding mothers; they need to know that you appreciate their efforts in raising healthy children. If you would like more information on breastfeeding please call us at 417-683-4174.
References: Medline Plus: http:// www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002450.htm)