KUSA — August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and when I shared my thoughts on the issue I received a lot of feedback.
Some felt that I was too negative and discouraged women from breastfeeding and that the article was not in the spirit of breastfeeding awareness. Breastfeeding is beneficial, beautiful and a great bonding experience.
Women who breastfeed make all kinds of sacrifices to make it work. I know a mom who completely changed her diet to exclude all dairy products due to her son's sensitivity issues. Other moms have breastfed their babies by exclusively pumping and then bottle feeding. Those sacrifices should be recognized and celebrated all the time but especially this month.
Breastmilk (isn't it amazing) contains the complete nutrients for infant’s growth and development, as well as to protect infants from numerous illnesses. Breastfeeding also provides significant health benefits for the mother.
Here are 5 incredible facts about breastmilk and breastfeeding from the Office on Women's Health.
- Breastfed babies get sick less often. It lowers the risk of ear infections, diarrhea, and stomach problems
- It allows moms to recover quicker. Hormones released when you breastfeed help your uterus shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size.
- It can help new moms lose weight. Mothers who exclusively breastfeed can burn as many as 600 calories a day, which may help you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight.
- It exposes infants to different tastes. Through breastmilk babies eventually gets a slight taste of whatever you eat, although not directly. It may make introducing solid foods easier.
- Children who are breastfed have a lower rate of certain illnesses as they grow up. The Office on Women's Health says babies who are not breastfed have a higher risk of asthma, diabetes, and childhood obesity
The American Academy of Pediatrics says there's also evidence breastfeeding protects against a variety of diseases and conditions including:
- respiratory tract infection
- urinary tract infection
- late-onset sepsis in preterm infants
- type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- lymphoma, leukemia, and Hodgkins disease
- childhood overweight and obesity
Despite those benefits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly 60% of mothers do not breastfeed as long as they intended.
Nearly 89% of Colorado moms initiate breastfeeding, yet only 27% are exclusively breastfeeding at six months as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, according to the Mothers' Milk Bank in Arvada.
Earlier this year, the Mothers' Milk Bank opened Colorado's first Baby Cafe that's open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday. It's a place where new and expecting parents can gather to support one another while receiving free guidance and support from a breastfeeding specialist.
Just this week, a second Baby Cafe opened in Thornton at Every Child Pediatrics at 9197 Grant Street in the first-floor community room. It will be open every Tuesday, 1 – 2:15 p.m. Parents and expecting parents are invited to attend drop-ins as often as they would like.
Baby Café USA, established in 2011, is a national network of free breastfeeding drop-ins, combining breastfeeding information with a relaxed, informal environment where parents can meet and learn from skilled practitioners and each other. Baby Café USA has more than 45 drop-ins in 14 states and supports more than 2,000 moms each year.
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