The first seven days of August are recognized as World Breastfeeding Week.
The South Dakota Department of Health, SD Breastfeeding Coalition, State Nutrition Council, WIC Program, along with Avera McKennan Hospital want to bring attention to the importance of breast milk.
Baby Madelin Bowden has had a rough go of it in her young little life. She was born 2 months premature and with her intestines on the outside of her body.
Now at 4 months old, she is doing remarkably well and her mom Sheena credits breast milk.
Sheena Bowden says, "She had lots of surgery and was very sick and I knew it would be important for her so I was determined so I pumped for three months and finally she can breast feed. She has gotten so much better after breast feeding. It's amazing."
Madelin's birth weight was 3 pounds 6 ounces and she was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 2 and 1/2 months. She now has healed and weighs 13 pounds.
Kathy English is a registered nurse and board certified lactation specialist at Avera McKennan. She says, "Those children are exposed to a lot when they are in intensive care setting in the hospital and this boosts their immune system and for Madelin it was so easy for her to digest that milk and make it easier for her recovery. Moms who breastfeed are doing the best thing possible for their newborn. Breast milk provides optimal nutrition to the infant and the child that infant will grow into not just as a baby but for the rest of their life. The health advantages are so far more superior than any other form of infant nutrition. "
Sheena has a whole supply of breast milk stored at the hospital and at home that she pumped. She also plans to breast feed for at least a year maybe a year and a half.
She says, "It takes a lot of time and dedication. Don't let anyone discourage you because it's well worth it." Kathy says, "You only have to look at her to see how well she is doing." Questions: Visit www.averamckennan.org