The WIC and Casemanagement programs of the Henry and Stark County Health
Departments announce that August 1-7 has been proclaimed World Breastfeeding
Week (WBW) and August has been proclaimed Breastfeeding Month. The theme
for the 2013 Annual WBW celebration, honored by more than 120 countries
worldwide, is "Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers." This year's
theme focuses on the importance of peer support in helping mothers to
establish and sustain breastfeeding. Through this theme, we bring attention
to the benefits of the peer counseling programs and the need for community,
workplace, healthcare and governmental support to help moms achieve their
Mandi Moore, Health Department Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, notes, "The
benefits of breastfeeding are numerous, well known and research based.
Babies who are breastfed are protected against respiratory and ear
infections, asthma, allergies, childhood cancer, and obesity. Mothers who
breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers."
In accordance with World Breastfeeding Week and Month, the Department
WIC (Women, Infants and Children's Supplemental Food Program) and
Casemanagement staff notes that Illinois WIC provides peer counseling
services in 76 counties in Illinois. In 2012, peer counselors made 75,000
contacts to provide support and encouragement to breastfeeding mothers.
Women who are counseled and supported by peer counselors are more likely to
begin breastfeeding and more likely to continue breastfeeding.
Adds Moore, "What people have to remember is that there are so many
benefits to breastfeeding. Even if new mothers are able to do it for only a
short time, a baby's immune system can benefit from breast milk. There are
many other benefits of breast milk for a mother, her baby, and others:
BENEFITS FOR BABY:
* Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. A
mother's milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein
that is needed for a baby's growth and development. Babies find it easier
to digest breast milk than they do formula.
* Premature babies do better when breastfed compared to premature babies who
are fed formula.
* Breastfed babies score slightly higher on IQ tests, especially babies who
were born prematurely.
BENEFITS FOR MOM:
* Nursing uses up extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds of
pregnancy. It also helps the uterus to get back to its original size and
lessens any bleeding a woman may have after giving birth.
* Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and possibly
the risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis after menopause.
* Breastfeeding makes your life easier. It saves time and money. You do
not have to purchase, measure, and mix formula. There are no bottles to
warm in the middle of the night!
* Breastfeeding can help a mother to bond with her baby. Physical contact
is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm and
BENEFITS FOR SOCIETY:
* Breastfeeding saves on health care costs. Total medical care costs for the
nation are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants
since breastfed infants typically need fewer sick care visits,
prescriptions, and hospitalizations.
* Breastfeeding contributes to a more productive workforce. Breastfeeding
mothers miss less work, as their infants are sick less often. Employer
medical costs are also lower and worker productivity is higher.
* Breastfeeding is better for our environment because there is less trash
and plastic waste compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle