(KDKZ-TV) In Missouri and across the U.S., the arrival of August also marks the start of National Breastfeeding Month.
It has supporters touting the benefits of mother’s milk, often called “nature’s perfect baby food.”
Marian Tompson with La Leche League says mothers who breastfeed can reduce their risk for diabetes, cardiovascular conditions and some forms of cancer. For the baby there are a variety of health benefits as well, such as a stronger immune system, better motor development and a reduction in allergies.
“There have been thousands of studies during the past 50 years that confirm babies are healthier when they’re breastfed. And it makes sense because they’re getting the food that was meant for their growth and development.”
Tompson says when La Lache League was founded in the 1950s, fewer than one in five mothers started out breastfeeding their babies. Today that figure is 79-percent.
While more mothers are starting with breastfeeding and nursing longer on average, Tompson says there are still too many who quit in those first weeks or months, often because the moms have to return to work and are separated from their babies.
“It’ll be a win-win situation for everybody when mothers who breastfeed their babies are supported and being helped to do so – both in employment, in school, anyplace where a mother who is breastfeeding has to be, and probably has to have her baby.”
Tompson says one initiative that already is having a positive impact is the growing number of hospitals in the U-S that are gaining certification as breastfeeding-friendly.
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