COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is celebrating National Breastfeeding Month by sharing the benefits of it and encouraging expectant mothers to speak with their doctors to make sure it is an effective choice for them and their infant children.
Officials say August is National Breastfeeding Month and includes National Breastfeeding Week, which runs from August 1st-7th.
“There are so many positives that come with breastfeeding, which is why we encourage expectant mothers to consider breastfeeding so the mother and child can take advantage of these benefits,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director.
South Carolina’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program is provided by DHEC, with funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and offers breastfeeding educational resources, support and assistance.
Officials say WIC also offers peer counselors to assist mothers with newborns with strategies to breastfeed safely and effectively, whether at work or home, provide support and answer any concerns about breastfeeding that mothers may have.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers several examples of the benefits of breastfeeding including:
- Breastmilk being the best source of nutrition for most babies.
- It protects babies against many short-term and long-term illnesses.
- It provides babies with antibodies for up to six months.
- It can reduce a mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Additionally, officials say breastfeeding fully or partially when possible can alleviate concerns that come with alternatives, such as the ongoing infant formula shortage.
While there are many benefits to breastfeeding, officials say it is not uncommon for mothers to experience issues while trying to feed their child.
“We know breastfeeding can come with complications and concerns for expectant mothers, and we also know the decision not to breastfeed is often wrongly stigmatized,” Traxler added. “So, we urge expectant mothers to speak to their OBGYNs, and make sure breastfeeding will be a safe and healthy option for them and their babies.”