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Community reception at ETMC Athens to celebrate benefits of breastfeeding

Rhonda Hardin is passionate about extolling the benefits of breastfeeding. So with World Breastfeeding Week nearly upon us, the certified lactation counselor is inviting the community to a celebratory reception at ETMC Athens.

“We’re having a breastfeeding celebration reception at the hospital on August 6,” said Hardin. “I want to celebrate breastfeeding moms and, hopefully, make the community a little more aware of breastfeeding.”

The Reception
The reception will be held Wednesday, Aug. 6, from noon until 2 p.m. in the hospital’s Dining Conference Room, off the cafeteria. Door prizes will be given away – such as a nursing stool and nursing pillows – and cake and punch will be served. Hardin is working alongside Breona Jacobs of the Athens WIC office on the event.

“WIC is a wonderful organization that is helpful to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, as well as young children,” said Hardin, a registered nurse and OB educator at ETMC Athens.

More on World Breastfeeding Week
World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7, is designed to heighten awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding. A host of organizations, from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the World Health Organization, agree that breastmilk is the very best nutrition for infants for the first year of life.

“I definitely think the practice of breastfeeding is coming back around,” said Hardin. “It goes in cycles. There will be a period of time where the majority of new mothers will choose breastfeeding and then we’ll go through a period of time when formula is preferred by more moms.

“But I think we’re in a period now where the majority of new moms do start off breastfeeding.”

Benefits of Breastfeeding
Hardin attributes that development to the public’s growing knowledge of breastfeeding’s benefits.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
• the initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life;
• exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months;
• continued breastfeeding as the main source of nutrition throughout the first year of life (even after complimentary foods are added);
• the continuation of breastfeeding after that for as long as is mutually desired by mother and baby;
• waiting to introduce pacifiers until the breastfeeding relationship is well established;
• and likewise waiting for the introduction of supplemental bottles of breastmilk.

Hardin points out that breastfeeding helps reduce the chances of a woman suffering postpartum hemorrhage after delivery; speeds the time it takes for mom’s uterus to get back to its pre-pregnancy state and size; can reduce mom’s chances of some types of cancers later in life – including breast cancer; and releases a hormone that has a calming effect on a mother’s body.

“New moms can definitely benefit from that!” enthused Hardin, who also noted that breastfeeding can provide a special closeness between mother and child.
In addition to the benefits for mom, breastmilk benefits babies by providing immunities that infants cannot get from formula; breastfed infants have fewer allergies; breastfeeding helps with infant brain development; breastfed infants have fewer digestive problems such as diarrhea and constipation; breastfeeding decreases an infant’s chances of having ear infections and respiratory tract infections; and it helps strengthen their facial cranial muscles, which can lead to straighter teeth and fewer speech impediments.

“It’s also worth noting that breastmilk is a natural resource,” said Hardin. “It doesn’t require water, energy, packing or storing – and it doesn’t cost a dime.”

Originally posted July 30 2008