Avera Medical Minute: World Breastfeeding Week

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KSFY, S.D. (KSFY) - The World Health Organization says World Breastfeeding week is August 1st through August 7th. It's a time dedicated to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies.

Four-month-old Adelyn Brown lights up a room when she smiles. Mom Angela Brown says they adjust to each other's needs and schedules in many ways, including breastfeeding. Angela says breastfeeding was part of the plan before Adelyn's arrival. "With my first, I actually made it two years, now with this one, my goal is to make it two years as well if possible," said Brown.

Despite breastfeeding being known as natural, it can be more of a challenge than moms expect. Brookings Health System has designed a way to encourage breastfeeding moms, answer their questions, and provide reassurance. Baby Cafe meets twice per week and is free.

"You can come in, you can weigh your baby, and you can feed your baby during that time, and then you can go ahead and weigh them after so you know exactly how much they're taking in," said Brown.

That reassurance can mean a lot to a mom according to Doctor Larissa Bennis, Avera OB/GYN. "We have certified lactation consultants that people are able to come in and meet with, they'll help them work on their latch, try to modify anything that needs to change with that," said Doctor Bennis.

There are many benefits for babies who breastfeed. "For babies, it will help decrease the risk for a lot of different infections, can help reduce the risk for GI infections, respiratory infections, can also help reduce the risk for asthmatic conditions, and can even help reduce the risk for SIDS," said Bennis.

Moms who breastfeed have the immediate benefit of bonding time with their baby, help with weight loss as breastfeeding burns calories, saving money versus buying formula and the long term benefits of a reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other gynecological cancers.

"We want to make sure we have a healthy mom and baby and so a lot of moms will put a lot of additional stress on themselves because they're not able to keep up with that supply. Do what you're able to do and make it work for you," said Doctor Bennis.

Governor Kristi Noem has also declared the next seven days as Breastfeeding awareness week in South Dakota. Businesses can also apply for the Breastfeeding-Friendly Business Grant to receive up to $1,000 to create a new lactation space, improve an existing space, or find ways to accommodate mothers who work outdoors or frequently travel.