2013-08-22 / Lifestyles

MDCH: Raise awareness in August for breastfeeding

LANSING – August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Michigan. To highlight the commitment Michigan has made to ensuring the long-term health of all mothers, infants, and children in the state, the Michigan Department of Community Health is encouraging men, fathers, family, and friends to support new mothers as they begin to breastfeed.

Studies have shown that when mom has support, she’s more likely to breastfeed so that both she and baby get the maximum health and developmental benefits. This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers,” highlights the importance of peer support. Researchers have found that with support, women breastfeed longer. This is important considering the well documented evidence that breast milk is important for the health and well-being of both mother and infant.

“Breastfeeding is about babies’ healthy nutrition, and so much more,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, chief medical executive with the MDCH. “We know that babies who breastfeed have less chance of childhood obesity, and better protection against illnesses than babies who do not breastfeed. Plus, breastfeeding helps build a close bond between mothers and babies, and fathers can be part of that bond too. Raising awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding not only with moms, but with men as well, is key to supporting the overall health of moms and their children.”

On August 7, MDCH held their annual ‘Walk a Mile to Support Breastfeeding’ event to encourage breastfeeding and breastfeeding support by walking a mile around the Capitol building in Lansing. This year several dozen people attended, including women, their babies, and more men than in years past.

Michigan has made the reduction of infant mortality and the improvement of overall health for women and children a priority. Breastfeeding is a proven prevention strategy, protecting both infants and mothers from a host of chronic and acute disease and conditions. Research shows that breastfed babies have fewer colds and ear infections. In addition, the nutrients in breast milk help build the baby’s brain and immune system.

The MDCH, Michigan Breastfeeding Network, and the United States Breastfeeding Committee, along with many more community breastfeeding coalitions across Michigan are working throughout the month of August to raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding in an effort to make Michigan a more ‘breastfeeding friendly’ state.

For more information about the benefits of breastfeeding, visit http://www.michigan. gov/ mdch/0,4612,7-132- 2942_ 4910_ 4919---,00.html.

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