This year, the theme for World Breastfeeding Week is to highlight the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding. Early, exclusive, and continued breastfeeding is one of the most beneficial steps in starting your child on a path of wellness. Breastfeeding is the best way to provide newborns with the nutrients they need. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.
Breastfeeding helps to protect babies against infections, prevents allergies, protects against a number of chronic conditions, and is also a great bonding experience for mother and child. Some advantages of breastfeeding include:
- Lowering the risk of ear and respiratory infections
- Less diarrhea
- Lowering the risk of meningitis
- Decreasing the risk of allergies and asthma
- Decreasing the risk of diabetes and obesity
- Decreasing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Breast milk is also good for a newborn’s digestive system. Breast milk tends to be more easily digested; breastfed babies have fewer incidences of diarrhea and constipation than formula fed babies. The Livingston County Department of Health has Certified Lactation Consultants, who can assist and support women who are breastfeeding. The Livingston/Wyoming WIC program will also be partnering with the Rochester Primary Care Network at their “Back to School Event” with a display table to promote breastfeeding and offer information to mothers and families. A meet and greet with the WIC breastfeeding counselors will include games and activities for preschoolers. In the fall, the Livingston County Department of Health will be starting a Baby Café in collaboration with the Genesee Valley Health Partnership and the Greater Rochester Health Foundation. The Baby Café will be a drop in center to provide service and support for breastfeeding mothers.
The Baby Café is for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and their supporters, as well as those interested in finding out about breastfeeding or helping a breastfeeding mother. More information will be available soon.
For questions, or for more information regarding breastfeeding, please call the Livingston County Department of Health at 243-7299.