August is National Breastfeeding Month, which was officially declared in 2011 by the United States Breastfeeding Committee. All month long, people celebrate the amazing benefits of breastfeeding, while continuing the fight to ensure women have the support they need to breastfeed.
Why Breastfeeding Awareness is Important
Since 2011, a lot has been done in regards to awareness for breastfeeding and its benefits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months with continued breastfeeding alongside introduction of complementary foods for at least 1 year. But, unfortunately, many women stop breastfeeding much sooner than that.
According to a breastfeeding report from the CDC, 83% of all women started out breastfeeding their newborn, 57% of women were still breastfeeding at 6 months, and only 36% of women were breastfeeding at 12 months.
So, why do mothers stop breastfeeding? It's noted that 60% of today’s mothers don’t breastfeed for the entire duration they should, and it can be influenced by many factors which include issues with lactation or latching, nutrition, weight, medications, and lack of support (from work, hospitals, and family).
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Research has shown that being breastfed can lead to a healthier life for babies. Some of the health benefits include:
- Protection against many common infections
- Nutritionally balanced meals
- Better survival for the first year of life
In addition to these benefits, breast milk has also been found to include many nutrients, vitamins, and antibodies which contribute to the development of everything from babies’ immune to digestive systems.
While there are plenty of benefits for babies who are breastfed, there are health benefits that extend to mothers as well. Breastfeeding has been shown to lower the risk of diseases that include:
- Certain Types of Breast Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Type 2 Diabetes
While formula is an accepted alternative, keep in mind the benefits of breastfeeding shared by mothers and babies alike!
Visit Metro OBGYN
Are you an expectant mother or know someone who is? Let Metro OBGYN be your guide for all things baby and women’s health. Located in 4 convenient locations in the East Metro, the experienced providers at Metro OBGYN will work closely with you throughout your pregnancy to answer questions, provide support, and ensure you have a safe and healthy pregnancy.