National Breastfeeding Month
World Breastfeeding Week is the first week of August, and the entire month of August is National Breastfeeding Month. These campaigns aim to bring attention to the benefits of breastfeeding and to inform people about the importance of breastfeeding across the world. The organizations behind these events have several goals throughout the month of August: To inform people about the significant links between breastfeeding and a myriad of real issues, such as poverty reduction, food security, and good nutrition; to establish breastfeeding as the foundation of life; to engage with people and organizations across the globe to have a greater impact on breastfeeding culture; and to get people excited about breastfeeding and advance its influence and presence around the world.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
There is truly no substitute for breastmilk when it comes to nutritional value for your baby. Breastmilk contains the perfect amount of vitamins, minerals, fat, and protein that your baby needs to grow and develop properly. It also contains antibodies that can help boost your baby’s immune system and fight off sickness, and it is easily digestible, meaning your baby will not have constipation or other digestive issues while they are exclusively breastfeeding. Breastfeeding benefits your baby’s overall health as well, as it has proven to reduce respiratory infections, ear infections, diarrhea, asthma and allergies, weight problems, and more. Aside from all the health benefits, breastfeeding is also easier than formula feeding, completely free, and hugely beneficial for mom as well. Breastfeeding also allows babies to have food all the time, no matter the amount of income in the household, reducing poverty and malnutrition across the globe.
The Importance of Breastfeeding Support & Education
A study by the CDC found that 79% of infants born in the US in one year were breastfed at birth. However, only 49% were still being breastfed at 6 months of age, and only 27% were still breastfed at 12 months of age. While these rates are on the rise, they are still nowhere near the recommendations by the World Health Organization, which suggests breastfeeding until 2 years of age. In another study, 57% of breastfeeding mothers considered their support group to be lightly or moderately important when it came to breastfeeding longer than one year. 10% of moms considered their support group to be extremely important. Studies have also shown that more educated women, those with more support, and those with more access to information are more likely to breastfeed longer.
The more that women learn about the benefits of breastfeeding and the more breastfeeding support they are given, the healthier our children will be and the fewer issues we will have with poverty and malnourishment across the globe. Pregnancy services at North County Health Services will provide you with education, information, encouragement, and support throughout your entire pregnancy and into the early years of your child’s life. Contact us today to learn more about breastfeeding support, lactation consultations, and more.