National Breastfeeding Awareness Month

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The focus is on moms this month: August is National Breastfeeding Awareness month.

It’s no secret that breastfeeding is beneficial for mothers and babies. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfeeding results in lowering a child’s risk of asthma, obesity, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and much, much more. Mothers who breastfeed also have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Beyond the physical attributes, there is also a strong emotional component to breastfeeding. Not only does the physical contact help babies feel more secure, warm and comforted, but it also helps moms bond with their babies. The skin-to-skin contact can boost hormone levels that help mothers feel calm, and can reduce stress responses.

There’s also a strong economic benefit: infant feeding formula is expensive, and those costs can quickly add up. The Office of Women’s Health reports that formula and feeding supplies can cost a family well over $1,500 a year. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that if 90% of U.S. mothers would comply with the recommendation to breastfeed exclusively for six months, there would be a savings of $13 billion per year. Also, studies show that mothers have up to six times less absenteeism from work when their children are breastfed.

Though August is National Breastfeeding month, supporting breastfeeding mothers and their families is something that Umpqua Health Alliance embraces year-round. In 2018, UHA partnered with the Umpqua Valley Breastfeeding Coalition to provide Breastfeeding Classes throughout Douglas County. Participants can take part in the two-class series free of charge. For more information, call or text Umpqua Valley Breastfeeding Coalition organizers at (541) 643-6736.

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