Breastfeeding Empowers Communities and Families

Celebrating National Breastfeeding Month

How to feed a baby should not be a worry for any mother. With high rates of poverty in this country, it is important that women and children have available resources to reduce disparities within our communities. Fortunately, breast milk is a valuable asset that can reduce expenses for families. Breast milk is a resource available to women of all socioeconomic statuses. Here at MomsFirst, we are committed to ensuring that women living in the City of Cleveland have the support they need during this rewarding, and sometimes challenging, experience. Studies show that mothers are 2.5 times more likely to breastfeed where breastfeeding is protected, promoted and supported.  Educating the community on the benefits of breastfeeding is one way to provide this support.

Breastfeeding is beneficial for both mom and baby. Mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of obesity, type II diabetes, breast cancer, and postpartum depression.  Even when babies are preterm, breastfeeding can lead to positive outcomes. Breastfeeding within the first 28 days of life for preterm babies is associated with better brain development. According to a new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, “babies who were fed more breast milk within the first 28 days of life had larger volumes of certain regions of the brain at term equivalent and had better IQ’s, academic achievement, working memory and motor function.”  All breastfed babies have decreased diarrhea, fewer respiratory tract infections, fewer allergies, and less risk of obesity and diabetes. 

Society as a whole also benefits. According to the Maternal Health Taskforce, “since breast milk is a natural, renewable food source that does not require packaging or distribution, breastfeeding is beneficial for the environment.” Cheering one mother on, has the power to impact an entire generation.  What affects one person has the power to impact the greater community.  Healthy children and adults are more likely to be productive members of their communities.

As we celebrate National Breastfeeding Month, let’s take a look at more ways we can collectively ensure that women within our families and communities have the support needed to stay encouraged during their breastfeeding journey.

  • Positive reinforcement- be sure to let mom know she is doing a great job

  • Offering to help- help out with daily tasks such as errands and household chores

  • Providing resources- Let mom know of support groups in her area  

  • Encourage rest- Remind mom to take time for herself as needed

For more information on how MomsFirst supports breastfeeding mothers, visit http://momsfirst.org/new-page-2/.