|World Breast Feeding Week begins Tuesday|
|Tuesday, 31 July 2012 15:54|
Black Hills FOX reporter Tessa Thomas spoke with a Rapid City Regional Hospital lactation consultant about the issue. Lactation Consultant Molly Meehan-Rasby says, "Breast milk is alive, it's a body fluid, it's full of living white cells. Some cultures call it white blood, so it's specific for our species. It's human milk for human babies." According to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, 75 percent of mothers start out breastfeeding, but only 13 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed at the end of six months. Meehan-Rasby says, "Throughout the nation we have a really great rate of initiation, so probably our number is about 82 percent of our population choose to nurse, so we want to support that and how we support that is by teaching them to nurse, to breastfeed in the hospital." Meehan-Rasby says the duration rate is especially important because the longer a mother chooses to nurse the better the benefits. Meehan-Rasby says, "The Surgeon General of the U.S. put out a call to action asking us to encourage breastfeeding in our nation because federally what they're looking at is that obesity rate, so if we can get moms to nurse and nurse for long periods of time, we can really impact childhood obesity." Meehan-Rasby says not only is there a lower risk of childhood obesity but breastfeeding makes your baby healthier. They are less likely to have hospitalizations in their first year of life. And it also creates bonding between mother and child. Meehan-Rasby says, "The heart is to promote breastfeeding amongst the women that choose to. And you know sometimes it's just hard to get back to nature and let ourselves in this busy world allow a mom and a baby to reside together, to have that experience of nursing and to keep them as close together as possible." So although Meehan-Rasby agrees that breastfeeding is best she also says that the decision to do it is a personal one. The 20th Annual World Breastfeeding Week begins Wednesday and runs through the 7th. Breastfeeding Week is a week to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding to improve the health of babies around the world.