(EFFINGHAM, IL) – During National Breastfeeding Month this August, and specifically World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7, the Women and Infants Center at HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital reminds new and expectant mothers about the importance of breastfeeding.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, 75% of mothers breastfeed their newborns, but the number of infants who are still breastfed exclusively drops to 13% by the time they are six months old. Studies show that babies who are not breastfed exclusively for the first six months are more likely to develop allergies, childhood obesity, colds, flu, and ear infections.
The normal and natural food for a newborn baby is breast milk. Their need for breast milk continues as they grow. The following are a few benefits of breastfeeding:
Breast milk is liquid gold. Colostrum, known as liquid gold, is the thick yellow breast milk that mothers make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is very rich in nutrients and antibodies to protect your baby. Although your baby only gets a small amount of colostrum at each feeding, it matches the amount his or her stomach can hold.
Breast milk changes as your baby grows. Colostrum changes into what is called mature milk. By the third to fifth day after birth, this mature breast milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein to help your baby continue to grow. It is a thinner type of milk than colostrum, but it provides all the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs.
Breast milk is easier to digest. For most babies, especially premature babies, breast milk is easier to digest than formula. The proteins in formula are made from cow’s milk and it takes time for babies’ stomachs to adjust to digesting them.
Breast milk fights disease. The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breast milk protect babies from illness. In fact, among formula-fed babies, ear infections and diarrhea are more common. Formula-fed babies also have higher risks of lower respiratory infections, asthma obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
For more information about breastfeeding, visit http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/.
HSHS St. Anthony’s is here to offer support and education to moms and babies throughout the breastfeeding journey, with an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant as well as Certified Lactation Consultants on staff, supported by nursing products to assist you and your baby. Lactation consultants are available by appointment at St. Anthony’s Women’s Wellness Center, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.by calling 217-347-1601. Any mother needing breastfeeding support after hours may contact St. Anthony’s Women and Infants Center at 217-347-1321.
In addition to the monthly Eat at Mom's Breastfeeding Class offered as part of the hospital’s prenatal classes for expectant mothers, St. Anthony’s also offers a Breastfeeding Support Group on the last Wednesday of each month at 5 p.m. at the Women's Wellness Center, 900 West Temple Avenue, Building B, in Effingham. The next breastfeeding support group will be held on Wednesday, August 28 at 5 p.m. at the Women’s Wellness Center. For more information or to sign up, visit stanthonyshospital.org or call Ashley Davis, RN, CLC, Nurse Navigator, at 217-347-1638.