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Breast Feeding More Important

February 23, 2016
Plain English Version
Mother breastfeeding baby in living room.

Mother breastfeeding baby in the living room.

Breastfeeding is a good idea. Only about a quarter of mothers breastfed forty years ago. Now, more than three-quarters do.  Breastfed infants enjoy greater protection from infections. There are benefits for mothers as well.

The newest advice is to breastfeed without using a formula for the-the first half year of life.

Whether to breastfeed is not a simple decision.

The discussion should begin in the first trimester of pregnancy. The obstetrician should talk with the parents. They should know about the benefits and the potential pitfalls of breastfeeding.

New guidelines set breastfeeding goals. It is not advice for any one mother. The guidelines suggest about eighty percent of babies should be breastfed. About sixty percent of them should be breastfed for at least six months. The rest should be breastfed for one year.

Working makes breastfeeding harder. At best, most women only get six weeks of paid maternity leave. Expressing and storing breastmilk can be daunting.

Guidelines call for:

  • paid maternity leave
  • on site child care.
  • break times for expressing milk
  • a place other than a bathroom to do so

Some women should not breastfeed. These women include those with H.I.V., untreated tuberculosis or chicken pox. If you are taking cell killing cancer drugs, do not breastfeed. The guidelines discourage marijuana use by nursing mothers.

There are good results for mothers who breastfeed. They have a lower risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

Now there are lactation specialists. There is coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Source: The New York Times February 15, 2016

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