03 Apr Maternal and Child Health
This month’s special area of focus is Maternal and Child Health in Rotary. Rotary is an organization dedicated to helping people around the world and within their own local communities.
“1.2 million neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world.”
The Rotary Club of East Nassau in The Bahamas invited me to be their guest speaker to address the importance of supporting Maternal & Child Health in our community. Although, a very broad topic, I decided to have an open discussion with them about Breastfeeding. Many people have misconceptions about the importance and long term benefits about breastfeeding, all of which directly impact both maternal and child health.
For some reason, the impact and importance of breastfeeding has been a topic not addressed openly and frequently enough. In fact, talking about breastfeeding makes some people feel uncomfortable. In truth, most people know and think breastfeeding is important because that’s what their told, and what they hear. People may even acknowledge that it’s the best nutrition for babies, but most people don’t know why it’s so important, and why it’s the best thing for your developing child and also for the mother.
Ultimately, breastfeeding is a choice, and this is not a discussion to guilt anyone into breastfeeding or to make anyone feel any less for choosing not to breastfeed. This is a dialogue to fill-in-the-gaps, and to answer some of the whys and hows of breastfeeding.
Here are a few things that people should know about the whys and the hows of breastfeeding, and what makes it so significant in Maternal & Child Health:
- Breastfeeding can reduce SIDs by 50%
- It reduces the chance of infants developing ear infections- Otitus Media
- Can reduce the chance of developing childhood cancers such as Leukemia
- Can reduce the risk of developing Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes in the child and Type 2 in the mother.
- Breast milk changes its composition everyday to meet the needs and requirements of the infant.
- Breast milk is increased by breastfeeding your baby more; the more you breastfeed, the more milk you’ll make.
- Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of Obesity by 21% in children and into adulthood.
- Reduces the risk of developing Breast Cancer (non-genetic form) and Cervical Cancer in mothers.
- Breastfeeding protects your baby from getting sick by allowing the mothers body to make, and then pass anti-bodies that fight off bacteria and viruses on to the baby.
- Breast milk is the perfect composition for human babies.
- Breastfeeding promotes bonding between the mother & baby.
- Breast milk provides a protective coating in the G.I.-tract of infants that acts like a barrier of protection against bacteria.
- Breastfeeding protects infants from diarrhea which is one of the leading causes of infant death in parts of the world.
There are many benefits to breastfeeding for both mother and child, but also huge benefits to the overall health of a population. Support is probably one of the most important factors of continuing breastfeeding after birth. Support not only from family and peers, but also support from society and government protection acts are crucial for safeguarding breastfeeding practices in society. We need to continue these open dialogues with people in the hopes of normalizing breastfeeding more around the world. No mother should have to feel ashamed or embarrassed about choosing the best nutrition for her baby. If you know a new mother or a women about to give birth, let her know you support her. Breastfeeding is natural but not always easy. The good news is that there is help available.
Do you have questions about breastfeeding? Write us: firstname.lastname@example.org
What are your thoughts on breastfeeding? SHARE your comments below, we’d love to hear from you!
Love & Hugs,
Bianca Carter, CLC