Breastfeeding: A True Super Power

ESCANABA – It makes children and their mothers healthier and stronger. It boosts babies’ immune systems, protecting them from illness and infection. It guards them against childhood obesity and diabetes. A unique mother-child bond is formed. It reduces women’s chance of breast and ovarian cancer and protects against post-partum depression.

Pediatricians, healthcare experts, and millions of mothers all swear by it: breastfeeding is powerful!

August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Community Health and Public Health, Delta & Menominee Counties’ (PHDM) Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) remind women they have the power to give their baby the best start in life.

Currently, about 75 percent of women in Michigan initiate breastfeeding but only 13 percent are exclusively breastfeeding at six months. Those percentages are even lower for African American mothers and women enrolled in the WIC Program.

According to Casey Young, Registered Dietitian with the WIC Program at PHDM, “helping mothers overcome breastfeeding challenges will improve the number of babies who are fed this ‘super milk’ and will support them to breastfeed longer.”

There are many ways that communities can support mothers and babies that breastfeed – in the hospital, home, workplace, and in public. According to Governor Snyder, in his Breastfeeding Awareness Month Proclamation, Michigan is committed to increasing public support and acceptance of breastfeeding as the infant feeding norm.

Activities throughout the state are planned this month to draw attention to the importance of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of mothers and children.

Additionally, advocates in Michigan are celebrating recent passage of the Breastfeeding Anti-Discrimination Act, legislation that gives women the right to nurse a child in any place that is open to the general public.

Locally, PHDM is offering a Newborn Feeding Class to help prepare moms for a good start with breastfeeding. The class is free for WIC moms. Non-WIC mothers are welcome to attend and are encouraged to make a $10 donation. August dates for the class in Escanaba are: Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 9 a.m. and Wednesday, Aug. 20, at 6 p.m.

Call Mallory at 789-4111, ext. 8170, for more information and to register.