World Breastfeeding Week begins today, and Wilma Sexton, breastfeeding coordinator for the Northwest Georgia Health District, is stressing the benefits of breastfeeding.
Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants and is easier for babies to digest than formula.
While breastfeeding is most beneficial to babies, moms get a few perks as well, Sexton said.
Mothers who breastfeed tend to lose their weight faster than those who do not, and it also helps them heal faster after giving birth, Sexton said.
They also save time and money that would otherwise be spent on formula.
Its just convenient, says Christy Gulledge, a first-time mom who is currently breastfeeding her infant son, Luke. I dont have to worry about taking bottles everywhere.
This years focus of World Breastfeeding Week is on the significance of breastfeeding immediately after the baby is born.
The importance of breastfeeding in the first hour is the bonding that the mother and baby receive, says Sexton.
Gulledge agrees, and says that the bonding between the mother and baby is one of the reasons that she decided to breastfeed in the first place.
Breastfeeding in the first hour is important to the babys physical health as well.
Worldwide, there is a 2.5 fold reduction in the risk of death if the baby was breastfed in the first hour. Breast milk provides immediate protection against bacteria and viruses that babies come in contact with.
Mothers who breastfeed in the first hour also experience
better milk production and less blood loss.
While many new mothers have trouble breastfeeding, Sexton said breastfeeding classes can make the experience easier.
Almost all mothers are able to breastfeed when they are given accurate information and have a supportive healthcare team and family.
Breastfeeding education classes are offered through the WIC program at the Floyd County Health Department. Floyd Medical Center also offers breastfeeding classes as part of their childbirth education series.
For more information on breastfeeding programs at the health department, contact Sexton at 1-800-816-3384.
To find out more about breastfeeding classes at Floyd Medical Center, visit them on the Web at www.floyd.org or contact certified lactation specialists Sue Lewis and Becky Richard at 706-509-6555.