By Kelly Goodman/Covenant Health
Like ice cream and a summer day, some things are just made for each other. That’s how we feel about breastfeeding. Breast milk is made especially for babies, and the staff at Methodist Medical Center and the Family Birthing Center want to encourage all new mothers to consider breastfeeding for your baby’s best health and development.
To celebrate World Breastfeeding Month, Methodist Medical Center, the Anderson County Health Department, and La Leche League will host Baby’s Best Fest, a free event featuring a family ice cream social, children’s activities, community resources, and more. Baby’s Best Fest will take place Thursday, August 4, from 6-7 p.m. at the A.K. Bissell Park Playground, located at 1401 Oak Ridge Turnpike.
“Breastfeeding is about making it work for you and your baby for an extended time,” says Cher Stallings (RN, BSN, IBCLC, CCE), International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in the Family Birthing Center at Methodist Medical Center. “So many mothers start out breastfeeding, but as they return to work or get caught up in a busy home life, they may give up breastfeeding earlier than they would ideally like. For some women, it’s a lack of support from family. For others, it’s a lack of tools or knowledge.”
This year’s theme focuses on the importance of community support for breastfeeding families. Methodist, the health department, La Leche League, and other community organizations offer support and guidance to women who want to breastfeed. Information about classes and services will be available during Baby’s Best Fest.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for a year, and as long as baby and mother desire after that. Once a baby reaches six months old, the mother can start adding in complimentary foods.
But until then, exclusive breastfeeding has the backing of medical research, which shows that the physical benefits of breast-feeding are improved with exclusive breastfeeding for six months.
Breast milk contains a rich amount of nutrients, hormones, and antibodies, a wondrous combination that acts in concert to promote good health in vulnerable newborns.
Health benefits that babies gain from breastfeeding, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, include:
- Protection against infections of the ear and respiratory system.
- Protection against diseases of the digestive and intestinal tract that cause vomiting or diarrhea.
- Reduced risk for sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
- Reduced likelihood that the child will develop such chronic diseases as diabetes, asthma, and obesity later in life.
- Enhanced brain development.
- Decreased risk for leukemia, lymphoma, and other cancers.
These protections have been found unique to breast milk.
Learn More at Baby’s Best Fest
Learn more about the importance of breastfeeding, find resources to support your needs, and network with other young families during the fourth annual Baby’s Best Fest on August 4 from 6-7 p.m. at the Bissell Park playground. Ice cream quantities are limited. Bring your picnic blanket, your family, and your friends and show your support for breastfeeding and giving your baby the best start possible! For more information, call (865) 835-4662.
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