August is breastfeeding awareness month and this year’s theme is “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding.”
The Clinton County Health District will be hosting its annual Breastfeeding Awareness Picnic — to celebrate breastfeeding in our community — at the Little Hearts Big Smiles Park on Tuesday, Aug. 13.
Benefits of breastfeeding are wide-ranging. The benefits for baby include protection against infections, asthma, and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, as well as reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Babies breastfed for at least six months are also less likely to become obese.
For moms, breastfeeding decreases the risks of breast and ovarian cancers.
There are financial benefits, too. Not needing to buy formula can save more than $1,000 a year. Fewer childhood illnesses mean lower medical costs and fewer wages lost to time off to care for sick babies.
An additional underappreciated benefit is breast milk of moms who themselves eat a varied diet exposes children to more flavors. This might be why breastfed infants are less picky and more willing to try new foods when it’s time to introduce them.
The Ohio Department of Health, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend feeding only breast milk for the first six months of life and continuing to breastfeed along with other foods for the first year and beyond.
Some breastfeeding obstacles that a new mom may have include a lack of family support, a lack of information from health care professionals, and a lack of accommodation at work.
The WIC (Woman, Infant, Children) program is committed to helping make breastfeeding the cultural standard for Ohio infants; offering education and support to help women make informed feeding decisions; and supporting the mother in her choice. The WIC program provides support from breastfeeding peer counselors, lactation consultants, classes, and breastfeeding support groups; all free of charge to any community mom.
For more information about WIC or breastfeeding, contact the CCHD WIC program at 937-382-2862.