With August as National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, much has been written highlighting the benefits of breastfeeding. Research shows it promotes good health and wellbeing for the baby as well as the mother. And according to the Office on Women’s Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, breastfeeding also has a positive effect on our society:
“Recent research shows that if 90 percent of families breastfed exclusively for 6 months, nearly 1,000 deaths among infants could be prevented. The United States would also save $13 billion per year — medical care costs are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants. Breastfed infants typically need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.”
Impressive stats. The website also makes the point that breastfeeding moms miss less work, because their babies don’t get sick as often – contributing to a more productive workforce. And it’s environmentally friendly with no waste from bottles, nipples and formula packaging.
So many real and valuable benefits, yet helping new mothers choose to breastfeed exclusively remains a challenge.
Kaiser Permanente has addressed this directly with the creation and launch earlier this year of a breastfeeding toolkit. Developed to help hospitals and health care systems promote breastfeeding and give babies the “healthiest start possible,” the toolkit includes information on evidence-based practices, processes that Kaiser Permanente has implemented with its own teams that have helped patients, templates, tools, videos and more.
More information on what Kaiser Permanente is doing to support new mothers and their babies can be found at the health organization’s News Center. And loads of helpful facts, information, support and advice are available at WomensHealth.gov (and in the infographic below).