Healthy Living

Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life

Oct 24 2018

Why choose to breastfeed?

Are you a new mother or soon expecting? Maybe a friend or family member is about to welcome a little one to the family. Choosing to breastfeed a child is not only a special way to bond, but it can help ensure a newborn receives optimal nutrition.

While breastfeeding is personal choice, a lot of evidence indicates it’s a healthy decision for both mother and child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding with the addition of appropriate solid food for the first year and beyond.

According to the WHO, establishing exclusive breastfeeding helps young children grow, prevents undernutrition, promotes brain development and reduces the risk of childhood obesity. Breastfeeding is also a newborn’s first vaccine, providing vital antibodies and boosting immunity.

Breastfeeding in Ohio and Kentucky

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitors the breastfeeding rates in every state. According to 2016 statistics, Ohio’s rate of 77.7 percent ranks 38th in the nation and Kentucky’s rate of 66.9 ranks 47th.

If you want to breastfeed but aren’t sure where to start, Mercy Health offers a variety of hospital lactation services to help you learn to nurse. We understand that breastfeeding can be nerve-inducing or cause feelings of awkwardness and uncertainty. Our lactation consultants can help remove these fears and answer any questions or concerns.

Breastfeeding education classes are offered as part of our childbirth series, and may be attended at any time throughout your pregnancy. During the class, you will learn breastfeeding basics, including what to expect, types of breast pumps and how to manage breastfeeding when you return to daily activities such as work or school.

Lactation counseling is also available to all new moms after they give birth. A consultant will come to visit you and your baby to offer guidance. And if questions come up after you take your little one home, you can always contact our team for support. To find a childbirth class near you, visit our events section on

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