This is Booster Shot, your monthly look at personal health. On this show, we talk with Candy Powell a Lactation Consultant at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, about breastfeeding.
“For babies,” Powell says, “it [breastfeeding] reduces their risk of respiratory infections, ear infections, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, allergies, certain types of childhood leukemia’s, and children that are breastfed tend to show higher IQ levels.”
Breastfeeding also benefits moms.
“In the immediate post-partum period,” Powell explains, “it reduces the risk of mom having heavy bleeding. It also helps mom to lose her baby weight. And long-term it seems to decrease mom’s risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding begin within an hour after delivery and that exclusive breastfeeding continue for six months.
“Exclusive,” Powell clarifies, “means no other foods or liquids, like no formula. Babies don’t need any juices, any water, anything like that. Breast milk meets all their requirements for the first six months.”
After six months, Powell suggests introducing other foods like cereals, fruits, and vegetables in addition to breastfeeding. Formula is not an adequate substitute for breast milk.
“Breast milk changes on a daily basis to meet baby’s needs,” Powell explains, “and it changes from month to month, too, as baby grows. It has at least 500 known substances in breast milk, but they only have around 30 of those that are replicated in formula.”
Powell suggests moms deliver with health care professionals who encourage breastfeeding. If problems occur, Powell recommends seeing a lactation consultant.
Work places can help moms breastfeed by providing breaks and comfortable spaces to pump. Businesses can even earn a designation from the state of Texas as a Mother Friendly Establishment.
Support for Booster Shot is provided by Medical Center Hospital, the only Level 2 Trauma Center in the Permian Basin. More information at 432-640-6000 or mch odessa (dot) com. Medical Center Health System, “Your One Source for Health.”