In 2004, the Office of Women’s Health, as part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, launched the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign and deemed August as National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. The purpose of the campaign is to empower and encourage mothers to commit to breast-feeding by highlighting new research showing that babies who are exclusively breast-fed for six months are less likely to develop health issues such as respiratory illnesses and childhood obesity.
The experience of breastfeeding is special for so many reasons, including:
- The joyful bonding with your baby
- The perfect nutrition only you can provide
- The cost savings
- The health benefits for both mother and baby
In fact, breast milk has disease-fighting antibodies that can help protect infants from several types of illnesses. Breastfeeding isn’t just good for babies—it improves the health of mothers, too! A study published in the Diabetes Journal (February 2010) found that lactation is linked to a decreased chance of having a cluster of risk factors associated with obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
It is important to keep in mind that breastfeeding is a learned skill. It requires patience and practice. For some women, the learning stages can be frustrating and uncomfortable. On top of that, some situations make breastfeeding even harder, such as babies born early or health problems in the mother. The good news is that it will get easier, and support for breastfeeding mothers is growing.
Motherhood is so special because a mother can make the food that is uniquely perfect for her baby. Investing the time in oneself and one’s baby is optimal for health and creates a bond that will last a lifetime.