August is National Breastfeeding Month, an observance that celebrates breastfeeding and its numerous benefits for mothers and babies. While it’s commonly understood that breastfeeding provides a plethora of health benefits for infants, most people don’t know that those benefits can last a lifetime. That’s why, this and every August, AAHP celebrates the beauty of breastfeeding.
A mother’s breast milk contains the perfect blend of vitamins, proteins, fats, antibodies and enzymes that are synced to her infant’s digestive system. These nutrients can protect babies from ear infections, asthma, allergies, and more. Breastfed babies have stronger immune systems and experience less diarrhea, constipation, and respiratory illness like pneumonia and whooping cough. More critically, breastfed babies have lower rates of bacterial meningitis—which can cause severe brain damage and amputation—and are less likely to succumb to SuddenInfant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
In childhood, breastfed babies may continue to have fewer instances of allergies, asthma, and respiratory illnesses and will also have fewer instances of childhood cancers, including leukemia. They will have fewer cavities and speech and orthodontic issues. They will also have a lower risk of Type 1 andType 2 diabetes and childhood obesity. Breastfed babies, as teens and adults, will be less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, heart disease, and diabetes. They may also be at lower risk of multiple sclerosis and may have lower rates of breast cancer. AAHP’s SMILE Program encourages moms to breastfeed and offers breastfeeding support and training to moms who may need it. Twice each year, inSpring and Fall, the SMILE Program offers free childbirth and breastfeeding classes to Black Montgomery County moms-to-be. Check AAHP’s calendar and stay tuned for updates!