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BREASTFED BABIES GET HEALTHY START ON LIFE

Mon October 17, 2011

DUPAGE COUNTY- Trained specialists in the DuPage County Health Department's Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program offer support, encouragement and education to WIC mothers about the numerous benefits of breastfeeding their babies.

Health experts around the world recommend exclusive breastfeeding (nothing but breast milk) for six months and continued breastfeeding after a baby begins solid food up to age one or two. Human milk is full of antibodies that help protect babies from many diseases, including ear infections, respiratory infections, diarrhea, allergies, leukemia and diabetes. Breastfeeding can even help the baby's mother by reducing her risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

The Health Department's WIC program strives to present breastfeeding as the accepted standard. The results are excellent. This past quarter, for example, 77 percent of post-partum mothers coming in for WIC services have begun breastfeeding. The state average is 66 percent.

Many mothers have questions about breastfeeding. Health Department staff answers their specific concerns and there is a breastfeeding class available. The class gives first-time mothers a chance to talk to other WIC mothers who have breastfed and they provide peer support.

Mothers are also taught about breast pumps and offered ideas on how to continue breastfeeding when they return to work. Breast pumps are provided for free to eligible participants.

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BREASTFED BABIES GET HEALTHY START ON LIFE