HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital recognizes National Breastfeeding Month in August and World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7, and the benefits of breastfeeding. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that breastfeeding is supposed to work almost like a newborn’s first vaccine, providing vital antibodies and an immunity boost through the mother’s milk.
“Breastfeeding, whether by the breast or pumping breast milk, is important to an infant as it provides protection against many illnesses, while also supporting bonding between the mother and baby,” said Ashley Davis, RN, certified lactation consultant (CLC) and nurse navigator.
- 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 such as ear infections, asthma and gastrointestinal infections, among others.
- Breastfeeding is beneficial to mothers as well. Mothers who breastfeed tend to, recover from childbirth faster, and are at a lower risk for developing breast and ovarian cancer.
HSHS St. Anthony's is a designated Baby-Friendly birth facility from Baby-Friendly USA. Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
Ashley Harmon, manager of women and infant services at St. Anthony’s, shared, “This designation means we use the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding to provide mothers with the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.”
HSHS St. Anthony’s is here to offer support and education to moms and babies throughout the breastfeeding journey. HSHS St. Anthony’s offers breastfeeding classes in the evening once a month. To check for upcoming dates and register for the class, visit stanthonyshospital.org/events.
The hospital also has a lactation consultant to answer any questions or concerns, available by appointment Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by calling 217-347-1638. For any breastfeeding needs after hours, mothers may contact the women and infants center at 217-347-1321.
For even more information about breastfeeding, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/.