The first week in August every year is celebrated around the world as World Breastfeeding Week. Breastfeeding is considered the “gold standard” among medical professionals and researchers. The benefits of breastfeeding not only immediately affect each baby in the most critical hours after birth, but also stay with the child through the rest of their life.
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in more than 120 countries and is organized by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action.
The benefits of breastfeeding cannot be understated; they go beyond the baby to the mother, the family, and the community.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, benefits include:
For the baby: Breastfeeding decreases the possibility that your baby will get a variety of infectious diseases, respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and gastrointestinal diseases. Also, the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is reduced by over a third in breastfed babies.
For the mother: Breastfeeding mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster and have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer. They also experience less postpartum bleeding, as the hormones that help with breastfeeding also make the uterus contract.
For the family: Breastfeeding facilitates bonding. Fathers and other children can participate by helping the mother with burping and rocking the baby, and by making sure the mother is eating and drinking enough.
For the community: Breastfeeding is lean, green, and clean. Breastfed babies are at a lower risk of becoming obese children and adults. Breastfeeding won’t put a huge dent in your wallet, it saves water, and it doesn’t use energy for manufacturing or pollute the environment with garbage or manufacturing air pollution. There is no worry about the risk of contamination from bacteria or other substances. It is always fresh, at the right temperature, and ready to feed.
McLeod Regional Medical Center (MRMC) and McLeod Health Dillon achieved Baby-Friendly status in 2019. The Baby-Friendly initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.
This designation also indicates that the hospital supports and promotes the importance of mother and infant bonding through skin-to-skin (placing baby on mom’s bare chest soon after delivery) and rooming-in (keeping the baby in the mother’s room during the hospital stay). While these practices promote bonding, skin-to-skin and rooming-in also offer many health benefits to both the mom and her baby.
McLeod Resource Center
The McLeod Resource Center is a hub of information for expectant women, new parents and any patients seeking health information for their families. Outpatient lactation consultations for new mothers are available at the McLeod Resource Center one day a week and all maternity education is coordinated through the center. It is also the site of a breastfeeding boutique that sells breastfeeding and breast care items, including breast pumps for sale and rent.
The breastfeeding boutique is open Monday through Friday, beginning at 9 a.m. The Resource Center is located on the McLeod campus, in the Levy House behind the McLeod Pavilion. For more information, please call (843) 777-2890 or visit www.mcleodwomen.org.