The benefits of breast-feeding have long been recognized within the medical community.
Breast-feeding provides a protective effect against respiratory illnesses, ear infections, gastrointestinal diseases and allergies including asthma, eczema and atopic dermatitis. The rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is reduced by over a third in breast-fed babies, and there is a 15% to 30% reduction in adolescent and adult obesity in breast-fed vs. non-breast-fed infants. (American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines)
New research shows that breast-feeding has long-term benefits for a baby's intelligence. The longer nursing occurs, the greater the enhancement on vocabulary and IQ.
Most women want to breastfeed, and are well aware of the benefits, which go even beyond the positives on both mom's and baby's health. Besides building baby's immune system, it promotes intimacy and bonding, for example. However, after birth, many women need advice to optimize production. Many women for different reasons struggle to produce enough milk. There are a lot of ways to increase milk production, if women will consult lactation experts. (Diana West, La Leche League International)
The World Health Organization reports that 37 countries have passed laws that ban advertising for breast-milk substitutes, not allowing free formula samples to be distributed through health services, and instead promote advertising on the superiority of breastfeeding over substitutes. (from WHO's recommendation called International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes, 2013)
Not everyone can nurse successfully, including moms who adopt babies, or those with certain medical challenges.
- During 2013 in Spokane County, 92% of infants were initially breastfed. Breastfeeding initiation increased as the mother's age and education level increased, and was more likely to occur among white women and those not on Medicaid. (2015 Spokane Counts, Spokane Regional Health District)
- Researchers looked at data from 1,300 babies whose moms breastfed them for at least 6 months. In later intelligence testing of those babies, verbal scores were 0.2 points higher at age 3 for each month the baby was breast-fed, while at age 7, they demonstrated an IQ score increase equivalent to one-third of a point for each month of breast-feeding. That benefit was for both verbal and nonverbal intelligence. At both ages, the measure of intellectual improvement was statistically significant. (Research from Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard, published in JAMA Pediatrics, one of the American Medical Association's journals)
- At 6 months of age, only 47% of babies are breast-fed, and it falls to 26% at 12 months. (CDC figures, 2013)
- Babies who are breast-fed have lower risks of ear and gastrointestinal infections, diabetes and obesity; and mothers who breastfeed have lower risks of breast and ovarian cancers. (CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden)
- Breast-feeding lowers health care costs. If women met breast-feeding recommendations, Americans would save $2.2 billion a year in health care costs. (CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden)
Agencies offering support for new mothers
who need help with breastfeeding, daily care of babies, nutrition, etc.
Baskets for Babies
Providing bassinets, cribs, clothing and basic newborn supplies for parents who cannot afford to do so.Catholic Charities CAPA
Free services for single pregnant women and parents with children, ages newborn through 3 years old. Deaconess Medical Center
Classes, counseling, support groups.
Attendance: small feeInland NW Baby
Diapers and basic children's needs for families experiencing h omelessness, poverty or temporary financial difficulties.La Leche League
Mother-to-mother breastfeeding support. Mommy and Me Club
http://www.llli.org (to find a meetings in the Spokane area)
Valley Hospital Health and Education Center (Davis Room)Mother-Baby Time
12606 E. Mission Ave.
Spokane Valley, WA
Attendance is FREE
Thursdays, 10 a.m. to Noon
Sacred Heart Medical CenterSpokane WIC
101 W. 8th Ave.
Attendance is FREE
Wednesdays, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
and services for eligible pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants,
and children up to age 5. Includes breastfeeding support.