Breastfeeding, or chestfeeding, for any amount of time has significant health benefits for baby and parent.
By Yanett Hodgson, IBCLC
August is National Breastfeeding Month! Per the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, “Breastfeeding is key to sustainable development strategies post-pandemic, as it improves nutrition, ensures food security and reduces inequalities between and within countries”.
Breastfeeding, or chestfeeding, for any amount of time has significant health benefits for baby and parent. To reap the most benefit, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first 6 months of life. That’s why Legacy has always prioritized breastfeeding for all its newborn patients and their parents.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival across the globe. However, the WHO estimates that almost two out of every three infants are not exclusively breastfed during the recommended first six months of life. That rate has not changed in two decades.
Breastmilk contains antibodies that help protect against many common childhood illnesses, like asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes, ear infections, gastrointestinal infections and sudden infant death syndrome. Breastmilk provides the energy and nutrients that infants need during the first months of life. It is easier to digest than infant formula, and it can provide a cost savings over formula.
Breastfeeding can also be beneficial to a mom’s health. It helps lower the risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, ovarian and breast cancers.
One frequent issue seen by my own patients is a concern about insufficient milk supply during breastfeeding. Many times it is because of improper technique. Issues like difficulty latching, sore nipples, or pain are not uncommon. But when lactation problems are treated early on, it can lead to successful breastfeeding for parent and child. I give them the support they need to feel confident.
Legacy Community Health strives to create an environment where breastfeeding is encouraged as well as supported. In addition to lactation assistance, free breastfeeding classes are available at most of our clinics to encourage pregnant and postpartum patients to breastfeed.
In honor of World Breastfeeding Month, Legacy is celebrating by offering free tote bags to expectant parents and those with lactation consultation appointments throughout the month of August. Lactation Telehealth appointments are also available every day via Zoom.
Yanett Hodgson has been Legacy Community Health’s Lactation Consultant since 2014. Located in our Southwest clinic at 6441 High Star, she has guided many pregnant and postpartum patients through the breastfeeding process and the challenges that can arise.