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Breastfeeding is Preventative Medicine

The advantages to breastfeeding are numerous and as a society, it benefits us all to support breastfeeding families. Breastfeeding is protective against maternal diseases such as breast and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, and postpartum depression. For babies, it is the best nutrition offered. It can reduce ear infections, GI infections, dermatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory tract disease, asthma, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, childhood leukemias, osteoporosis, and most importantly infant mortality, just to name a few.

For us as a society, breastfeeding is environmentally friendly, and breast milk is a naturally-renewable resource that requires no packaging. Breastfeeding reduces health care costs; mother’s milk serves as baby’s first vaccine leading to life-long health for that child. Because breastfed babies are healthier than their formula fed counterparts, breastfeeding families will miss less work to care for an ill child.

In the Affordable Care Act, breastfeeding is covered under the women's health and well-being preventative medicine section. We need to speak up to our elected representatives to ensure these vital services continue not only for women, but for their babes and for our world.

As a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, I have been supporting families since 1997. My private practice allows me to be an independent practitioner and provide lactation and infant feeding support in the comfort of a mother’s home or in the office at Laurel ObGYN. Insurance is accepted. Rental breast pumps and breastfeeding supplies are available for purchase as needed to help a mother in reaching her goals. Women with support breastfeed longer and feel better about their transition into motherhood. It is an honor for me to be part of the mothering journey.

This was originally published in Mountain Xpress on February 14, 2017.

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