During National Breastfeeding Month, the Women and Infants Center at HSHS Holy Family Hospital Greenville reminds new and expectant mothers about the importance of breastfeeding.
World Breastfeeding Week was celebrated at the hospital August 1-7. Each breastfeeding mom delivering during this timeframe received a gift basket of breastfeeding-related items.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, 75 percent of mothers breastfeed their newborns, but the number of infants who are still breastfed exclusively drops to 13 percent by the time they are six months old. Studies show that babies who are not breastfed exclusively for the first six months are more likely to develop allergies, childhood obesity, colds, flu, and ear infections.
The normal and natural food for a newborn baby is breast milk. Their need for breast milk continues as they grow. The following 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.
For more information about breastfeeding, visit http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/.
For more information about HSHS Holy Family Hospital’s Women and Infants Center, visit the hospital’s web site at https://www.hshsholyfamily.org/Medical-Services/Women-Infants. HSHS Holy Family Hospital is part of the Southern Illinois Division of Hospital Sisters Health System, which also includes HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese, and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland.