It is a little known fact that the road to lifelong health begins with breastfeeding. The important health, social and economic benefits associated with breastfeeding are endless.
Aside from providing a special experience for mothers to bond with their newborns, breastfeeding reduces mortality for infants more than any other intervention. This translates into healthier children who are more likely to grow into healthier adults.
The joy and excitement of parenthood also comes along with many daunting questions for new parents. They are often faced with an abundance of information on promoting the health and safety of their children.
However, something as simple as breastfeeding during the first six months of infancy can have a lasting impact on the health of their children. Research shows that breastfeeding can help prevent a wide range of diseases and conditions including ear infections, diarrheal diseases, asthma, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and respiratory illnesses. Breastfeeding even has benefits to new mothers, decreasing their risk for breast and ovarian cancer.
Economically, these benefits make breastfeeding one of the most cost-effective measures for decreasing disease and saving healthcare dollars. In fact, studies show that breastfeeding can save the lives and lower the healthcare costs of about 2 million children around the world each year.
In today’s fast paced world, many working mothers may seek alternatives to breastfeeding in order to avoid interruptions to their busy schedules. We at CHI hope to empower new and expectant mothers in the community with the tools and information to help them make informed decisions about the health and well being of their families. Whether you are a seasoned parent or only beginning to think about starting a family, we urge you to consider the wealth of long-term benefits breastfeeding provides for both mother and child.
As always, talk to your healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns about whether or not breastfeeding is the right option for you.
Brodes Hartley, Jr. has served as President & CEO of Community Health of South Florida (CHI) for 27 years. The nonprofit organization provides affordable quality health care to south Miami-Dade and Monroe County. For more information, go to www.chisouthfl.org
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