Waushara County Health News By Waushara County Health Department

The benefits of breastfeeding your child

Mothers have been breastfeeding their children for centuries. In fact, until the creation of formula in 1867, breastfeeding was the only option available for many mothers in America. According to an article from the Journal of Perinatal Education, if breastfeeding was not an option, children were fed with milk from other animals or even with bread soaked in water.

According to Courtney Jung, a lactation expert, breastfeeding takes 35 hours a week. The creation of formula allowed many mothers who were otherwise preoccupied with breastfeeding their children to rejoin society. While formula is a safe and nearly identical alternative to breastfeeding, breastfeeding remains the recommended method of infant feeding.

Breastfeeding is beneficial for both mother and child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states, “breastfeeding protects against a variety of diseases and conditions in the infant.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that breastfeeding lowers the risk of your child developing the following conditions: asthma, childhood leukemia, type 2 diabetes, diarrhea, eczema, and a variety of infections. Breastfeeding also lowers a mother’s risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

 

The AAP recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life. Following these first six months, as solid foods are introduced, breastfeeding should continue for a year or longer, the length of which should be determined by what is best for both mother and child. In 2017, 71.7 percent of mothers in Waushara County breastfed their babies exclusively for three months, which exceeds Wisconsin’s rate which is only 50.4 percent.    

Breastfeeding is a normal and natural method of feeding your child. Mothers may not be aware that there are laws in place to promote and protect their right to breastfeed in public and at work. According to WI State Statute 253.16, a mother may breastfeed her child in any public or private location where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be. In such a location, no person may prohibit a mother from breastfeeding her child, direct a mother to move to another location, direct a mother to cover her child or breast while breastfeeding, or otherwise restrict a mother from breastfeeding.

 

Breastfeeding is the recommended method of infant feeding. It is beneficial for both mother and child and helps to prevent many diseases and conditions. For more information about breastfeeding, please contact your local WIC office.