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This Is Still Important

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Do you have to read a ton of books before you can start breastfeeding your baby? Actually, your body is already making milk and knows what to do. Your baby, sucking on his/her fingers in the womb, knows what to do. Nature has planned for success.

However, there are policies that interfere or undermine what could actually do well. Advice from health care providers, family, work place policies all influence a mother.

Two influences that are positive for breastfeeding are:
• Hospitals that are certified as Baby Friendly follow ten specific steps to assure a positive breastfeeding environment.
• The Affordable Care Act’s recognition of breastfeeding as part of women’s preventative health. The intention was more access to breastfeeding support for any time in the hospital, at home or in the community.

There has been progress. The “Breastfeeding Report Cards” from the Centers for Disease Control track how rates are increasing. Most recently, the 2016 report card showed that 81% percent of mothers in the United States began breastfeeding. A little over half of those women, 51.8%,  were still breastfeeding at six months. That means those women received some good support and education in order to start and continue.

Exclusive breast milk for the first six months is very significant. This is when the infant’s immune system is growing and being established. Breast milk sets a healthy foundation for life. Good for a mother, a child and the whole family…. a terrific reward on investment.

So please listen up. In any possible revision of the Affordable Care Act, it is necessary to keep this support for breastfeeding. It is an important part of women’s preventative health services and for family’s well being. These services should not be cut out. Write or call your representative. Describe how support for breastfeeding (classes, pumps, home visits, groups) made a difference in your family’s life.

Does this have value to you? Let them know.

Nature, in her design of women and babies, has planned for success. Let’s set up policies that supports that success.