Increase a child’s health with breastfeeding

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 29, 2018

Mammals are one of several species on this planet that provide for their young.

One of those tasks entails providing sustenance. Humans, like all mammals, are equipped to handle that task through the beauty of nature.

According to the Baby-Friendly USA website, hospitals that have received official designation as a Baby Friendly Hospital are better prepared to provide high-quality instruction to new mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding, healthy breastfeeding techniques and how to safely feed with formula, among other things. According to the Centers for Disease Control’s 2016 Breastfeeding Report Card, Mississippi had the lowest breastfeeding rate in the nation between 2014 and 2015. Of the 2,013 births during that time, 52 percent of new mothers in Mississippi reported breastfeeding their child at least once, the report states. The national average at that time was 81.1 percent.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics states on its website that there are a number of benefits associated with breastfeeding rather than using formula. Breastfeeding can reduce the risks of certain diseases, such as respiratory infections, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, leukemia and lymphoma. In addition, breastfeeding can also benefit the mother by reducing the risk of ovarian cancer and decreasing the severity of postpartum bleeding, the site states. Director of Women’s Services Janelle Imhoff said that it is important to inform mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding, especially since breastfeeding has been shown to decrease the rate of infant mortality. She said that even though the process behind receiving a Baby-Friendly designation is a long one, she hopes Highland can finish the necessary steps by the end of the year.

Imhoff said that once Highland receives the designation, it will be easier to reach the surrounding community and increase awareness about breastfeeding. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, Mississippi ranks second in infant mortality. If more hospitals and medical facilities across Mississippi follow the lead of institutions such as Highland, perhaps the infant mortality rate will begin to decline.