During the month of August, IHS is observing National Breastfeeding Month to bring attention to one of the most highly effective preventive measures a mother can take to protect the health of her infant.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends all healthy babies breastfeed without any supplementation for the first six months of life. Beyond six months of life, children should begin having solid food and breastfeed for two years or longer.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Children
Human breastmilk is the perfect food for newborns and infants. Breastmilk contains maternal antibodies that protects the child from common childhood illnesses such as ear infections and diarrhea. Ongoing research suggests that breastfeeding reduces the risk of obesity that can lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mothers
Breastfeeding is a special time that encourages strong bonds between mother and child. Women who breastfeed decrease their risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer. Frequently, breastfeeding women return quickly to their pre-pregnancy weight and lower their risk of obesity.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Society
Breastfeeding decreases the risk of illness in young children and lost time from work for parents caring for sick children.
Breastmilk is available twenty-four hours a day and requires no special preparation decreasing family food budget costs.
Breastfeeding encourages the building of positive relationships with caregivers.
Everyone can support breastfeeding.
- Encourage women to breastfeed their children
- Praise women for breastfeeding.
- Support and or assist in the development of breastfeeding support groups for breastfeeding mothers.
Indian Health Service and Baby Friendly