Breastfeeding is a natural part of being a mother, but unless you or a family member have done it, it may be one that you know little to nothing about. August 1-7 is recognized as World Breastfeeding Week is August 1st through 7th, the entire month of August being National Breastfeeding Month.
Breastfeeding benefits both babies and their mothers. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, breastfed babies have lower risks of asthma, childhood leukemia, childhood obesity, ear infections, eczema, diarrhea and vomiting, lower respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome, and Type 2 diabetes. Mothers who breastfeed their children have lower risks of developing Type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
While breastfeeding is a natural process, it does not come without challenges, worries, and issues. If you are pregnant, now is a great time to discuss your desire to breastfeed with your doctor. Depending on your health conditions and medications, it may not be a viable option.
If you are a mother who is having trouble breastfeeding, talk to your health care provider to get help. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to a local professional who is trained to address breastfeeding concerns and provide tips. In many areas, moms can join local breastfeeding support groups. The La Leche League International also hosts an online forum for breastfeeding mothers to share their stories and concerns with others.
A common worry for mothers is the public perception of breastfeeding in public places. In 2006, however, Kentucky passed a law allowing mothers to breastfeed in any public place where they and their children would otherwise be allowed; and businesses, municipalities, or other people should not interfere, restrict, or prohibit them from doing so.
Remember, breastfeeding is a personal decision. All moms deserve support regardless of how they decide to feed their infants. They should not feel guilty if they cannot or choose not to breastfeed.
Call the Oldham County Health Department at (502) 222-3516 for further information on breastfeeding. The Oldham County Extension Office also provides information about healthy living. Contact us at (502) 222-9453, or visit us online.
Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.