One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.
-E. M. Forster
“Breast is best,” has become a familiar phrase to most of us as a way to shorten the lengthy list of the advantages of breast milk over formula. This list includes strengthening the mother and baby bond, financial savings, and health benefits for both the child and mom. For most babies breast milk has been found to be easier to digest than formula and provides infants with increased immunity from disease. It is linked to lowering infants’ risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ear infections, stomach viruses, respiratory infections/asthma, obesity, diabetes, and more. (U.S. DHHS, 2010)
Last night the Arkansas Breastfeeding Coalition provided a fantastic opportunity for home visitors and others to find out what is happening in the field of lactation in Arkansas. It was also a great place to network with people who are PASSIONATE about helping improve breastfeeding rates in our state. Martha Hall, RN/MSN from Arkansas Children’s Hospital discussed the use of donor milk in the NICU to lower rates of necrotizing enterocolitis, a gastrointestinal disease that can be fatal in preterm infants. In addition, Dr. Jane Miers, M.D., spoke about what physicians can and should do to support breastfeeding families.
The Arkansas Home Visiting Network Training Institute is doing its part to try and increase the breastfeeding rates in our state with a new training that is now available! The ABC’s of Breastfeeding is a FUN and interactive session that looks at the many benefits of breastfeeding for both baby and mother and explores ways to encourage and support mothers in the decision to breastfeed. It also offers current information so home visitors can learn how to reassure a breastfeeding mother and give them answers to most of the questions an expectant mother might ask.
Undeniably, breast milk is the best choice for infants and families. However, the choice of whether or not to breastfeed is a highly personal one that mothers and families have to make individually. Given the importance of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of mothers and children, it is important for home visitors to continue to learn about this and share information with families. They need accurate information in order to make the choice to breastfeed and they need assistance provided to make the experience more relaxed, enjoyable, and manageable for all involved.
Remember the Arkansas Department of Health has a breastfeeding help line that is answered Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by lactation specialists. There is no charge for their information and advice. Their number is 1-800-445-6175.
Posted by: Dr. Kathy Pillow-Price on August 24, 2012