It makes your kids healthier and smarter. It boosts babies’ immune systems, guards them against childhood obesity and diabetes and may even protect infants from leukemia and asthma. It reduces women’s chance of breast cancer and burns as much as 600 calories a day. It’s free and available day and night. Pediatricians, healthcare experts and millions of mothers all swear by it. Breastfeeding makes babies and their moms stronger and healthier.
August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month. St. Francis Hospital’s Childbirth Center celebrates Breastfeeding Month each year to encourage more women to breastfeed their babies exclusively until they are six months old and then supplement breast milk with solid foods until the baby’s first birthday or longer.
According to the CDC Breastfeeding Report Card 2011, about 64% of women in Missouri initiate breastfeeding but only 12% are exclusively breastfeeding at six months. The Report Card, now in its 5th year, provides perspectives on state and national trends in breastfeeding data. Since the release of the first Report Card in 2007, there have been steady improvements in several indicators, especially in 3 month and 6 month exclusive breastfeeding rates, which increased more than 5 and 4 percentage points, respectively.
A woman's ability to reach her breastfeeding goals is affected by a host of factors including support from her family, community, employer and health system. That is why this year’s Breastfeeding Awareness Month theme is Everyone Can Help Make Breastfeeding Easier.
Moms are faced with new challenges as their breastfed-infants grow. Often times, it is the compassion provided by others that supports a lasting duration of the breastfeeding relationship. Helping breastfeeding moms overcome challenges will help improve breastfeeding duration rates. St. Francis is committed to increasing public support and acceptance of breastfeeding as the infant feeding norm.
St. Francis Childbirth Center will once again conduct a drawing for a free breast pump for a new mother during the month of August as part of their Breastfeeding Awareness Month activities.