Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding

We had the distinct pleasure to be a supporting sponsor of the SD Regional Breastfeeding Summit yesterday in Brookings, which was hosted by the newly re-formed SD Breastfeeding Coalition, and I personally want to say what an amazing day it was. We had the honor of getting to hear from Dr Raylene Phillips as well as Linda Smith and I know I learned a ton. So, in the next months I will be sharing some of the information they shared with us.

One of the things we talked about was the Surgeon General's 2011 Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. Because of this Call to Action, there has been a nationwide movement to increase breastfeeding awareness, support, and to help mommies breastfeed for longer.

The following is from the Call to Action's fact sheet found at www.SurgeonGeneral.gov. Take a minute and read through it....you won't be sorry :)

What are the health benefits of breastfeeding?

  • Breastfeeding protects babies from infections and illnesses that include diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia.
  • Breastfed babies are less likely to develop asthma.
  • Children who are breastfed for six months are less likely to become obese.
  • Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

What are the economic benefits of breastfeeding?

  • Families who follow optimal breastfeeding practices can save between $1,200–$1,500 in expenditures on infant formula in the first year alone.
  • A study published last year in the journal Pediatrics estimated that if 90% of U.S. families followed guidelines to breastfeed exclusively for six months, the U.S. would annually save $13 billion from reduced medical and other costs.
  • For both employers and employees, better infant health means fewer health insurance claims, less employee time off to care for sick children, and higher productivity.
  • Mutual of Omaha found that health care costs for newborns are three times lower for babies whose mothers participate in the company’s employee maternity and lactation program.

What obstacles do mothers encounter when they attempt to breastfeed?

  • Lack of experience or understanding among family members of how best to support mothers and babies.
  • Not enough opportunities to communicate with other breastfeeding mothers.
  • Lack of up-to-date instruction and information from health care professionals.
  • Hospital practices that make it hard to get started with successful breastfeeding.
  • Lack of accommodation to breastfeed or express milk at the workplace.

What can employers do?

  • Start and maintain high-quality lactation support programs for employees.
  • Provide clean places for mothers to breastfeed.
  • Work toward establishing paid maternity leave for employed mothers.

What can community leaders do?

  • Strengthen programs that provide mother-to-mother support and peer counseling.
  • Use community organizations to promote and support breastfeeding.

What can families and friends of mothers do?

  • Give mothers the support and encouragement they need to breastfeed.
  • Take advantage of programs to educate fathers and grandmothers about breastfeeding.

So, what can you do?

  • You can come to events and classes at Educated Mommy to learn about and help support mamas in their breastfeeding journey. As a bonus, while you are supporting others, you will get the support that you need!
  • Join Milk Monologues on Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m., Going Back to Work on the 2nd Saturday of each month at 9:00 a.m., and of course, join us for La Leche League this Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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