Breastfeeding Week supports mothers, babies

World Breastfeeding Week, celebrated annually during the first week of August, was established to promote, protect and support breastfeeding worldwide. More than 20 years ago, at the WHO/UNICEF policymakers’ meeting held in Florence, Italy, the Innocenti Declaration document was produced and adopted. The declaration recognizes that “breastfeeding is a unique process that provides the ideal nutrition for mother and baby.” Research has proven numerous benefits for mother and baby.

Breastfeeding can protect against many childhood illnesses, according to Beth M. Iovinelli, a registered nurse who is a maternal/child health educator and an international board certified lactation consultant.

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that women breastfeed their babies for at least 12 months. These children will be less likely to suffer from allergies, asthma, type I insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), and ear infections. Statistics show that breastfed babies have far fewer visits to the pediatrician, which means less work time lost for parents, less sick time for baby and less money spent on healthcare, Ms. Iovinelli added.

“It’s good for mom, too! Many women are not aware of the health benefits they receive from breastfeeding. Research shows that women who breastfeed their babies have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding may also reduce the risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis as well as decreasing the risk of osteoporosis. It also promotes maternal confidence and provides a wonderful way to bond with your baby,” she said.

To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week 2012, Norwalk Hospital will be providing refreshments for the Fourth Trimester Support Group, a weekly support group for new moms and their babies, on Friday, Aug. 3, at noon. In addition, breastfeeding mothers who deliver at Norwalk Hospital during this week will be eligible for drawings for merchandise provided by the Health Emporium of the hospital.

For more information, call 203-852-3390 or visit norwalkhospital.org.

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