(WIAT) – August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Breastfeeding is a full journey for every Mom and there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to the decision to breastfeeding a baby.
Even though breastfeeding is as old as the human race, the month was only made official back on August 6, 2011, by the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2016 Breastfeeding Report Card, over 80 percent of women in the U.S. initiate breastfeeding. However, barely more than half (51.8 percent) of infants are still breastfeeding at 6 months.
Though breastfeeding is a personal decision for a woman, a mother should not be made to feel guilty if she cannot or chooses not to breastfeed.
Mothers all over deal with many barriers such as lack of knowledge, social norms, stigma, poor family and social support, lactation problems, employment and childcare challenges, and barriers related to health practices in hospitals. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been advocating breastfeeding awareness for decades by driving an annual campaign to empower women to commit to breastfeeding.
Health experts say, when a woman is thinking about initiating breastfeeding, it is important to consult with your doctor. Especially when it comes to the medications you are prescribed, you must make sure you are in a good space mentally and healthwise, in order to breastfeed your baby safely and properly.
The distribution of breast milk from a mother to a baby is so important, as breast milk can provide all of the nutrients needed for a growing baby.
August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month – WATCH: CBS 42 Digital Reporter Jessalyn Adams as she visits the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Alabama.
Most hospitals provide a lactation consultant that will normally, walk a mother through the process of breastfeeding. It is also very important that right after giving birth when a woman decides to breastfeed, to make sure to initially start feeding right away to prevent complications and issues.
A mother creates milk in her body that health experts say can take place for up to 2 years, which is the timeframe from birth that doctors recommend breastfeeding. Most mothers start introducing other eating options, usually at the age of 6 months. But health experts say up to 2 years old for breastfeeding is acceptable.
Each mother and her breast milk are different and specific to her and her baby. Breast pumps for mothers are always important to keep handy, in case they are not able to breastfeed their baby immediately. Pumps help with storing and distributing breast milk. They also help with relieving pain that can happen if breasts are not relieved in a timely manner.
Hospitals provide so many resources for women when it comes to breastfeeding.
For mothers who are just not able to breastfeed for whatever reason, health experts say this is common and it’s okay to contact your pediatrician for help with resources and options.
Milk Banks provide breast milk that has been donated by women in order to help those in need. For moms who have a plentiful supply of breast milk, milk banks are a great place to donate milk for babies who may be ill or going through treatment at the hospital. Milk banks are also great for moms who can not produce their own breast milk to their babies, whether it be due to stress, medications or other complications.
For more information and details on where to donate milk visit, Mother’s Milk Bank Alabama
For a complete directory of lactation consultants and breastfeeding support groups by county: Alabama Breastfeeding Committee http://alabamabreastfeeding.org/
For a roadmap of best places to pump and feed while breastfeeding visit: https://www.pumpspotting.com/
For more information on breastfeeding visit: www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding
National Breastfeeding Hotline: 1-800-944-9662
National Breastfeeding Month: http://www.usbreastfeeding.org/nbm19