As Ashley discussed in her blog post yesterday, breastfeeding can sometimes have its challenges, leading some mothers to feel alone and discouraged. However, with a little education and positive reinforcement, breastfeeding can be incorporated into the life of the mother and child.
Not only do many Northeast Ohio mothers like Ashley make an effort to breastfeed their children, but nationally, breastfeeding is regarded as an important part in a baby’s development. In the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) release of Healthy People 2020, a 10-year national plan to improve the health of all Americans, an increased goal was set for breastfeeding across the country.
Currently, in the United States, 74 percent of infants are breastfed. Healthy People 2020’s goal is to increase that figure to 81.9 percent. The plan also calls for an increase in workplace lactation support as well as a decrease in formula supplementation to newborns. According to Healthy People 2020, “Improving the well-being of mothers, infants, and children is an important public health goal for the United States. Their well-being determines the health of the next generation and can help predict future public health challenges for families, communities, and the healthcare system.”
Although breastfeeding is not always an easy task, it has benefits for both the mother and child. The DHHS calls breast milk “liquid gold” as it contains nutrients and antibodies that fight illness. These antibodies cannot be found in formula. Breast milk also saves moms money and reduces her risk of Type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
At Summa Health System, we agree that breastfeeding is the healthiest option for mothers and babies and we provide the support needed to mothers who make the decision to do so. For those mothers nervous, scared, or worried about breastfeeding, you are not alone and there are many support services available to help. All Summa nurses are trained to help new mothers get breastfeeding off to a good start.
Our Lactation Center provides assistance for mothers to help them meet their feeding goals, as we strive to achieve the standards set forth by Healthy People 2020. We provide services by International Certified Lactation Consultants 12 hours a day, six days a week. If special problems arise, the Lactation Consultant is available. We also have a Breastfeeding Support Group that meets twice a month to help families meet their long term breastfeeding goals.
Ultimately, the decision to breastfeed is the choice of the mother and we are here to support her and her family every step of the way.
Jennifer Foster, RN, BSN, IBCLC
Summa Health System