• 63°

World breastfeeding week

HAILEY ELSON

Each year the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action coordinates World Breastfeeding Week during the first week of August.

There are more than 120 countries across the world that participate by holding events to celebrate and educate women about the importance of breastfeeding. Support Breastfeeding: For a Healthier Planet, focuses on the impact of infant feeding on the environment/climate change and the imperative to protect, promote and support breastfeeding for the health of the planet and its people. The campaign also highlights the links between breastfeeding and the environment/climate change. Though this year with COVID-19, gathering and celebrating World Breastfeeding Week may be discouraged, we encourage you to participate in a different way. Share your stories regarding breastfeeding, both the fun and not so fun. Your story could open up the doors for those contemplating breastfeeding.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is recommended that mothers exclusively breastfeed for the first six months after a baby is born. There are many benefits of breastfeeding. Breast milk provides a baby with enzymes, antibodies, growth factors, hormones, probiotics, vitamins and minerals that are always changing to meet a growing baby’s needs. Although formulas do contain some of these things, the nutrients of a mother’s breast milk are some of the best things you can provide your baby.

The most important part of successful breastfeeding is the latch. A good latch is vital, plus ensures comfortable positioning of yourself and your baby. In fact, there isn’t one specific way to position your baby, so do what works best for you both. While the inability to get your new baby to latch onto the nipple for feeding may be frustrating, do not be discouraged. Breast milk does not have to come directly from your breast to your baby’s mouth. There are various alternatives available to provide your baby with breast milk, such as syringe feeding or breast pumping to bottle feed. It’s important to do what feels and works best for you and your baby.

If you need further assistance, please contact your hospital’s lactation consultants or Hailey Elson, the breastfeeding peer counselor, at the Beaufort County Health Department. Hailey can be reached by email at hailey.elson@bchd.net or by telephone at 252-940-6529. Seek to work with a lactation consultant at your local hospital or the breastfeeding peer counselor at the Beaufort County Health Department. You can also call a breastfeeding helpline at 1-800-994-9662, or contact an independent lactation consultant.

Hailey Elson is the breastfeeding peer counselor at the Beaufort County Health Department.