EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WCIA) — August is National Breastfeeding Month. The Women and Infants Center, at HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital is offering its support for new and expectant mothers.
According to the US Surgeon General, 75% of mothers breastfed their newborns, but the number of infants breastfed exclusively drops to 13% by 6-months old. Studies show babies not exclusively breastfed for the first 6-months are more likely to develop illnesses, allergies or infections.
The normal and natural food for a newborn baby is breast milk. Their need for breast milk continues as they grow.
These are a few benefits of breastfeeding:
- Breast milk is liquid gold. Colostrum, known as liquid gold, is the thick yellow breast milk that mothers make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is very rich in nutrients and antibodies to protect your baby. Although your baby only gets a small amount of colostrum at each feeding, it matches the amount his or her stomach can hold.
- Breast milk changes as your baby grows. Colostrum changes into what is called mature milk. By the third to fifth day after birth, this mature breast milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein to help your baby continue to grow. It is a thinner type of milk than colostrum, but it provides all the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs.
- Breast milk is easier to digest. For most babies, especially premature babies, breast milk is easier to digest than formula. The proteins in formula are made from cow’s milk and it takes time for babies’ stomachs to adjust to digesting them.
- Breast milk fights disease. The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breast milk protect babies from illness. In fact, among formula-fed babies, ear infections and diarrhea are more common. Formula-fed babies also have higher risks of lower respiratory infections, asthma obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
HSHS St. Anthony’s has an internationally board certified lactation consultant and certified lactation consultants on staff who are available by appointment.
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