1 2 0 C o u n t r i e s . W o r l d w i d e . A n n u a l l y
Breastfeeding gives babies the best start in life
From Pam Stephan, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Lower Estrogen ExposureYou can
lower your risk of developing breast cancer by breastfeeding your baby. And if your baby
is a girl, her risk can also be reduced.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Pregnancy before age 30 and breastfeeding reduce a woman's total number of lifetime menstrual
cycles,which is thought to be the reason they help lower your risk. The hormone estrogen fuels 80% of
all breast cancers. Since pregnancy and lactation reduce your estrogen levels, your risk is decreased
each timeyou are pregnant and while you are nursing your baby.
August is Missouri Breastfeeding Month
Breastfeeding rates in Missouri are on the rise, but the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is hoping more mothers will choose breastfeeding and breastfeed longer to give their babies the best start
The benefits of breastfeeding are emphasized during Missouri Breastfeeding Month, observed annually in August. In addition, Worldwide Breastfeeding Week is observed Aug. 1-7.
“Breastfeeding contributes to the good health of babies as well as their mothers,” said Sharmini Rogers, chief of the state health department’s Bureau of Genetics and Healthy Childhood. “It is one of the most important decisions a new mother can make.”
Just over 65 percent of babies in Missouri were breastfed at birth in 2004, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC’s national Healthy People 2010 breastfeeding goal is 75 percent at birth.
Research shows that breastfeeding promotes a baby’s good health from birth and throughout life. Breastfeeding helps facilitate the development of a baby’s brain as well as aid in the growth of the immune system to withstand such ailments as diarrhea, ear infections and infections of the respiratory and urinary tracts.
Breastfeeding also reduces a baby’s risk of environment-borne illnesses, food sensitization and allergies. In addition, babies who are breastfed exclusively for at least six months have a reduced risk of obesity later in life.
Mothers benefit as well. Breastfeeding reduces postpartum bleeding, helps the mother return to her pre-pregnancy weight sooner, boosts her immune system and even reduces a diabetic mother’s need for insulin. Women who breastfeed also have increased protection from breast and ovarian cancers and osteoporosis.
The percentage ofMissouri mothers choosing to breastfeed their newborns has steadily increased over the past few years; however, many women are still not breastfeeding their babies. While more mothers are initiating breastfeeding at birth, breastfeeding rates drop by more than half by the time a baby is 6 months old. In Missouri, 32.6 percent of infants were still being breastfed at 6 months of age in 2005.The CDC breastfeeding goal for 6-month-old babies is 50 percent.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for approximately
the first 6 months of life and continue to be breastfed - while food is being introduced - until
the baby is at least 1 year old
Breastfeeding help and information can be obtained by calling a
St. Francois County Health Center Breastfeeding Peer Counselor
at our 24 hour helpline 573-366-1386.
You can also find more information by visiting
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