It’s Breastfeeding Awareness Month!

August is National and World Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and experts and mothers from more than 170 countries agree: Breast milk is best when it comes to feeding a baby in the first year of life.  

Breastfeeding creates a special, close, emotional bond; provides essential, balanced nutrients; is cost-effective; and offers short- and long-term health benefits for both babies and mothers. The protection that a mother’s breast milk provides is specific to her baby and actually changes to meet her baby’s needs. Because breast milk contains hormones and cells that fight germs, breastfeeding helps protect infants from many health problems, including respiratory illness, ear infections, gastrointestinal disease, asthma, obesity and allergies. As an added bonus for mothers, breastfeeding is linked to lower rates of breast cancer and other illnesses, and aids in post-pregnancy weight loss. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), exclusively breastfeeding during the first 6 months provides all the nutrition an infant needs. The AAP recommends that mothers breastfeed exclusively for about the first 6 months, followed by breastfeeding combined with gradually introducing other foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuing as long as mother and baby wish to breastfeed.

First 5 LA supports breastfeeding through Welcome Baby, which assists new mothers in learning how to successfully breastfeed from the start, and by funding the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative for more than a dozen hospitals in L.A. County, which offers programs to build the necessary skills to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding. 

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