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World Breastfeeding Week is Aug. 1-7

Author

Tenika Reddick, Breastfeeding peer counselor

By Tenika Reddick

Rowan County Health Department

This year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week, which is today through Aug 7, is “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life.” Here are some great objectives from this year’s theme that we’re going to focus on: Inform, anchor, engage and galvanize.

The first objective is to inform. As the WIC breastfeeding peer counselor at the Rowan County Health Department, I inform mothers about the association among good nutrition, food security, poverty reduction and breastfeeding. I am available to address any questions or concerns the mother has so that she receives reliable and factual information about breastfeeding.

The next objective is to anchor the mothers by letting them know that breastfeeding is the foundation of life. Breastfeeding provides many great benefits for both the mother and child.

At the time of birth, the mother’s body produces the first milk, called colostrum, that contains antibodies from the mother’s immune system which help the infant fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding also lowers the risk of the infant developing asthma or allergies and provides benefits for the mother, as well.

Breastfeeding promotes faster postpartum weight loss by burning about 500 extra calories due to building and maintaining the milk supply. Studies have shown breastfeeding may also lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Because of the many benefits breastfeeding provides to both the mother and child, it is viewed as the anchor and foundation of life.

For the next objective, I have to “engage” myself with breastfeeding moms. The Rowan County Health Department’s WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program offers services to prenatal women who are planning to breastfeed and to women who are breastfeeding.

I also visit new mothers being discharged from the hospital to offer my services after they go home. One of the advantages of the Peer Counselor Program is that I am able to offer visits to assist a mother in the comfort of her own home.

While there, I can help her with positioning and latch problems and provide the encouragement and support she may need. Proper positioning is an important tip for the breastfeeding mom and may mean the difference to ensure successful breastfeeding.

Here are some tips:

• There are five different positions: Laid-back breastfeeding is a position that taps into your baby’s natural reflexes. When a baby is delivered, the doctor places the baby skin-to-skin and the baby will search and find the breast for feeding.

• Cradle hold: Sitting comfortably holding your baby in your arm, his or her tummy against yours and head resting in the bend of your arm.

• Cross cradle is almost the same as cradle but you’re tucking your baby’s bottom in the crook of the opposite arm of the breast that you’re nursing on. Support the baby’s head with your thumb and forefinger.

• Side-lying is putting your baby on his or her side facing you, with your nipple in line with the baby’s nose.

• Football positioning is often called the clutch hold. Lay your baby between your body and arm, using your hand to support the baby’s neck while making sure the baby is stomach-to-stomach. The is mostly applied to moms who had an emergency or scheduled c-section.

• Home visits are a mandatory element to successful breastfeeding. One of the big reasons is that baby and mom are in the comfort of their home.

The last objective, but not least, is galvanize. To galvanize breastfeeding is to bring breastfeeding to the forefront and take action to advance it as a part of good nutrition, food security and poverty reduction.

A mother who is able to breastfeed has the chance to promote the health of her child by providing the best nutrition available and for no cost, which helps with food security and reducing poverty.

For more information on breastfeeding or the WIC Program, call 704-216-8777 or go to worldbreastfeedingweek.org/.

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