Beebe’s Women’s Health Department Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week
World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, is celebrated in over 120 countries to raise awareness of the importance and health benefits of nursing for baby and mother. This year’s theme is “Exclusive Breastfeeding: the Gold Standard,” which aims to educate communities about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, and to find ways to support and encourage mothers to do it. Breastfeeding is more than just food and has many benefits, in addition to providing a special emotional bond between the child and the mother.
“To get started and keep breastfeeding, new moms need education and support. It’s a natural thing to do but often does not come naturally without help and guidance,” explains Nancy Hastings, RN, IBCLC, and Lactation Specialist at Beebe Medical Center. “After a brief adjustment period, breastfeeding is an extremely beneficial, rewarding experience, made easier by family and community support. By celebrating World Breastfeeding Week, Beebe hopes to provide increased community understanding and help our moms and babies get off to a great start.”
Breastfeeding Benefits and Facts:
w Exclusive breastfeeding is the safe, sound, and sustainable way to feed an infant for the first six months of life. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages breastfeeding until at least a year with complementary foods after six months and thereafter as long as mutually desired.
w Breast milk is the “perfect food” for babies, containing the right balance of proteins, fats, lactose, vitamins, iron, minerals, water and enzymes. It is clean and has anti-bacterial properties.
w Breastfeeding reduces instances of diarrhea, infections including respiratory and ear infections, which keeps babies healthier and potentially keeps parents from taking as many sick days from work.
w It’s convenient -- ready to serve when the baby wants it, needs no preparation and it has the right temperature.
w It’s free - and free from contamination.
w Breastfed babies are less likely to be obese or develop diabetes, heart diseases, eczema, asthma and other allergic disorders later in life.
w Breastfed babies have been shown to have a higher IQ (Intelligence Quotient), better mathematical abilities than infants who are not breastfed, and better visual development.
w Breastfeeding is good for mothers, too - including returning their bodies to their pre-pregnancy shape, reducing post-delivery bleeding, and reduced rates of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The time saved for moms is immense also.
w It’s good for the planet - human milk is delivered without excess packaging or processing.
Meta Sharp-Franz, RNC, IBCLC (Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant), and Nancy Hastings, RN, IBCLC, are Lactation Specialists at Beebe Medical Center who support, encourage and educate new mothers (and fathers) to promote a better understanding of the importance of breastfeeding. Beebe's Women’s Health Department will feature special giveaways for new breastfeeding mothers throughout the week.