“Breastfeeding is vital for infant growth and development and has a positive impact on the health of both the infant and the mother,” said Wilma Sexton, WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator for Northwest Georgia Public Health.
According to Sexton, Lactation Counselors are available at the Gordon County Health Department to help mothers or expectant mothers learn and develop the necessary skills to breastfeed their children naturally. Contact the health department at 706-624-1444 for more information.
“Beginning breastfeeding within the first hour of a baby’s life, exclusively breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond, provides the best nutrition for babies,” Sexton said. “We recommend exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.”
According to Sexton, breastfeeding may also play an important role in public health’s war on obesity, especially childhood obesity. “While there are no quick solutions to the obesity epidemic we face as a nation, there is considerable evidence to suggest that breastfeeding is among the most effective preventive measures for reducing the risk of childhood health issues like obesity,” said Sexton.
“Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of severe lower respiratory tract infection, middle ear infections and sudden death syndrome in children and lowers the mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes, and even cardiovascular disease throughout her life.”