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Monday, May 4, 2015

Breastfeeding beneficial for moms and babies

Saturday, January 31, 2009

(Photo)
Tracy Young of Cloverdale breastfeeds her son Hudson, 8 months. Hudson is the youngest of Young's three children, all of whom she has exclusively breastfed.
Tracy Young knows about the studies and statistics that say breastfeeding is the best thing for babies.

But for her, the best proof of its benefits are the three healthy, happy children she is raising.

Young exclusively breastfed her son Hunter, 11, and daughter Hailee, 5, and is now following suit with her youngest child, 8 -month-old Hudson.

"It's the healthiest thing for them," said Young, who lives in Cloverdale with her husband Lee and their children. "They have less ear infections and that kind of thing. Plus, it's cheaper."

According to information at the La Leche League International Web site, the benefits of breastfeeding -- for both babies and mothers -- abound. Studies have shown that mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast cancer, and that breastfeeding can contribute to postpartum weight loss. For the baby, pluses include fewer allergies, the perfect balance of nutrients and jaw development.

Courtney Grant facilitates the Women, Infants and Children program at the Johnson Nichols Health Clinic in Greencastle. She is a certified lactation specialist, and assists mothers like Young who want to breastfeed their babies.

"I never knew how important this was," Grant said. "I worked with the WIC program in Lafayette when I was in college -- I volunteered there. I was just thrown into it, but the more I learned the more passionate about it I became. Breast milk is the best nutrition for babies. This really does need to be promoted."

Young said she also enjoys not having to get out of bed and prepare bottles at night.

"Nighttimes are so much easier," she said. "It's right there."

That accessibility is also a bonus when she and Hudson are out and about.

"I can feed him anywhere, anytime," she said. "If we're out shopping, I can go out to the vehicle and do it. If we're at church, I just go find a room."

Young had difficulty breastfeeding her daughter, and had to stop doing it long before she wanted to. She said she could definitely tell the difference once she stopped breastfeeding Hailee.

"She has had ear infection after ear infection after ear infection," she said. "And Hudson has yet to have one. I'm bummed I didn't get to go longer with breastfeeding her."

Grant encounters many mothers who are adverse to breastfeeding at first.

"I get a lot of, 'It's gross,' 'It's icky' and 'My mom didn't do it,'" she said. "There is also a stigma ... people just don't think that's what breasts are for. But we have to get moms doing this. If Generation A doesn't do it, Generation B isn't going to do it."

Grant does breastfeeding counseling in steps. First, she asks the mother what she thinks about breastfeeding.

"Some common reasons they don't want to breastfeed are that they think their breast milk is sour ... which is impossible; they think their breasts are too small; or the father is against it," she said.

At that point, Grant affirms the mother's feelings, and begins to build a trust with her. Then she proceeds to advise the mother, educating her on the benefits of breastfeeding and debunking any myths that may be blocking her from considering breastfeeding.

"Moms are sometimes alarmed by the color of their breast milk," Grant said. "It's not always white. It can be yellowed, pink, blue or green."

Young believes breastfeeding has enabled her to develop stronger connections to her children.

"I'll be looking down at (Hudson), and I'll just all of a sudden think, 'Oh my gosh, I'm just so in love with him,'" she said, looking down a Hudson, a smiling, rosy-cheeked baby with bright blue eyes. "And I think he's very attached to me because of it."

Deb Beck, a pediatric nurse at Hendricks Regional Health, is also a certified lactation consultant, and runs a breastfeeding support group at Hendricks.

"Your breast milk is custom-made for your baby," she said. "There have been mountains of studies that prove it can help babies avoid common childhood illnesses as well as lesser-known ones ... SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) among them."

A breastfeeding support group is also held at the Putnam County Hospital. Meetings take place on the hospital's third floor at 7 p.m. every second and fourth Thursday of the month. Deb Miller, director of the hospital's Family Life Center and a certified lactation consultant, runs that group.

"A lot of people make the decision about whether or not to breastfeed according to family," she said. "Do they have family members who did or do breastfeed? Are they going to have the support to do it?"

Employment is also often a factor.

"They have to consider whether or not they're going back to work immediately," Miller said. "Does the employer support breastfeeding moms? Will they provide appropriate breaks to pump so she can keep her milk supply up?"

Grant is appalled by the social taboo breastfeeding is in some areas.

"I'm offended by people being offended by it," she said. "Facebook is actually banning the posting of breastfeeding pictures because it's offensive to some of the younger members. If we make it the norm -- as it should be -- maybe people wouldn't be so shocked by it."


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I tried and failed at breastfeeding both of my kids, and ended up pumping for a few weeks before I couldn't do that, either. My son was fed breastmilk longer, and I can tell the difference it has made in his health compared to my daughter (who only had breastmilk for two weeks before the supply went away). It is a natural, wholesome thing to do, and it is sad the social taboo that is associated with it these days. The world was populated this way, and some people just lose sight of what is right in the face of so much technology.

-- Posted by caaricha on Sat, Jan 31, 2009, at 6:58 PM


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