Lactation Support Services

by Alyssa Mierta, CLC

Why is human milk feeding important?

Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large. The World Health Organization recommends that newborn feeding with colostrum should begin within the first hour after birth.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.

The La Leche League International Philosophy include: Mothering* through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby. Breastfeeding is enhanced and the nursing couple sustained by the loving support, help, and companionship of the baby's father*. Ideally the breastfeeding relationship will continue until the baby outgrows the need.

  • Breastfeeding saves lives.
      • The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breastmilk help protect babies from illness. This protection is unique and changes every day to meet your baby’s growing needs. Research shows that breastfed babies have lower risks of many common illnesses.
      • Breastfeeding helps a mother's health and healing following childbirth. Breastfeeding leads to a lower risk of certain health problems in mothers.
  • Breastfeeding saves money. Medical costs may be lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants. Breastfed infants usually need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.
  • Breastfeeding also helps make a more productive workforce. Mothers who breastfeed may miss less work to care for sick infants than mothers who feed their infants formula. Employer medical costs may also be lower.
  • Breastfeeding is better for the environment. Formula cans and bottle supplies create more trash and plastic waste. Your milk is a renewable resource that comes packaged and warmed.

Why call it "human milk feeding" instead of "breastfeeding," aren't they the same?

Human milk feeding includes:

  • feeding directly from the breast, at the chest, or by another caregiver
  • feeding of human milk through a cup, bottle, supplementer system, or feeding tube
  • feeding with a combination of human milk and medically appropriate supplements

Adoption, medical conditions of child or parent, and separation due to work, school, or military service each pose challenges which can be overcome with a variety of feeding strategies to provide the best possible outcome for the family based on their goals and needs.

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