Research indicates breastfeeding lowers an infant’s risk of having asthma or allergies and breastfeeding can reduce the risk of babies’ developing chronic conditions such as type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease.
In light of compelling evidence, why don’t all mothers breast feed?
“Most of the time it’s because they get frustrated early on. If they have problems, it tends to discourage them from continuing,” said Sandy Ballard, Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Bear River Health Department. “We see moms who have latch problems in the first few days and that tends to be an obstacle they need to overcome.”
Over 93 percent of mothers report breastfeeding their child after delivery. But not all are able to reach their breastfeeding goals.
“One of the goals mothers have is to breast feed as long as they can,” said Ballard. “We really try to encourage what the American Academy of Pediatrics says by breastfeeding for one year and exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months, which means just breastfeeding with no other supplemental food such as formula.”
Ballard said there are dramatic differences in the health of babies who are exclusively breast fed.
“It’s obvious they don’t get sick as often, they have a fewer number of trips to the doctor. The protections that the mom’s milk gives those babies is really incredible. We have immunization properties in our milk, we have antibodies that are passed to the baby. We are really protecting them against a lot of those things that cause them to go in to see the doctors.”
Ballard said the Bear River Health Department lactation clinic is available for anyone and the WIC program provides a lot of breastfeeding services for women in the community.