Breastfeeding Resources for San Benito County Residents
Breastfeeding is the first step to a healthy life. In addition to the bond created by the intimacy of breastfeeding, we now know that the more a mother breastfeeds, the greater are the benefits to both mother and baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that babies are breastfed exclusively for their first six months of life and to continue for at least the first year and as long as mother and baby desire.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
There are many benefits to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding helps mothers and infants alike, keeping both healthier and giving newborns a better chance to thrive throughout childhood. Studies show that breastfed children have fewer and less serious illnesses, including gastroenteritis, asthma, eczema, and respiratory and ear infections, reduced risk of obesity, and that their total medical care costs are lower than for never-breastfed infants. Adults who were breastfed as babies are less likely to develop risk factors for heart disease such as obesity and high blood pressure. There are benefits for mothers too: women who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer and hip fractures in later life.
Top Reasons to Breastfeed
1. Breastfeeding is more than just food
Breastfeeding helps mothers bond with their babies through intimate physical contact. Physical contact at the breast places the baby skin to skin and within hearing of their mother’s heart beat (which they have listened to within the womb) and helps newborns feel secure, warm and comforted; babies also are highly attuned to the unique smell of their mother’s milk.
2. Breastfed infants are healthier
Breastfed babies have fewer ear infections, less diarrhea and constipation, fewer and/or milder illnesses like colds and flu, and greater immunity to allergies, asthma, diabetes and some childhood cancers. They also have reduced risk of obesity during childhood and in later life.
3. Breastfeeding is good for moms, too!
Women who breastfeed are healthier throughout their lives. Breastfeeding reduces the risks of some types of ovarian and breast cancers. Breastfeeding requires extra calories, making it easier to lose weight gained during pregnancy. Breastfeeding saves time. There are no bottles to warm and wash. Mother’s milk is naturally clean and warm. Sitting down to breastfeed helps moms rest and regain their strength after pregnancy. Breastfeeding hormones help moms relax and bond with their babies.
4. Breastfeeding saves money
Formula is expensive. Moms who do not breastfeed need to buy bottles and other equipment. Additionally, formula-fed babies typically have higher health care costs than breastfed babies. Bonus: the IRS has now made breast pumps a tax deductible expense!
5. Breastfeeding helps the environment
Breastfeeding is natural. It reduces the pollutants created as byproducts during the manufacturing of formula and its packaging. It also reduces the burden on our landfills – no wrappers, cans, bottle liners, etc.
6. Additional benefits for the mother include:
*Decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
*Decreased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer
*Easier to return to prepregnancy weight
Though breastfeeding is natural to babies- who marvel us by moving to the breast soon after birth, it is new territory to a beginning mother and you may need additional assistance and support. San Benito County offers a wealth of local resources to support breastfeeding because we know that breastfeeding is what is most healthy for both babies and moms.
Need help right away?
The Breastfeeding Coalition of San Benito County offers a comprehensive San Benito County Breastfeeding Resource Directory of local breastfeeding resources and support, including:
Breastfeeding Support Groups
Local La Leche Leagues and community breastfeeding networks
Hospital/ Clinic Lactation Support Services
Public Health home visitation nurses
WIC Breastfeeding counselors and clinics
San Benito County Public Health Agency: 831.637.5367
California Breastfeeding Coalition
La Leche League Breastfeeding Support
Mother’s Milk Bank
The San Benito County Public Health Department supports efforts that encourage breastfeeding at the workplace, as it provides benefits for mothers, children, families, and society. Children who are breastfed are less likely to develop acute ear infections, asthma, diabetes and obesity. Reduced risk of diabetes and breast and ovarian cancer are some of the mother’s health benefits. Breastfeeding also provides benefits for businesses, including lower health care costs, reduced absenteeism, higher productivity and lower turnover rates.
San Benito County Health and Human Services Agency Policy
Breastfeeding for Working Mothers
It’s the law
State WIC information
WIC Health Online Classes
Safely Preparing and Storing Expressed Breast Milk
* Be sure to wash your hands before expressing or handling breast milk.
* When collecting milk, be sure to store it in clean containers, such as screw cap bottles, hard plastic cups with tight caps, or heavy-duty bags that fit directly into nursery bottles. Avoid using ordinary plastic storage bags or formula bottle bags, as these could easily leak or spill.
* If delivering breast milk to a child care provider, clearly label the container with the child’s name and date.
* Clearly label the milk with the date it was expressed to facilitate using the oldest milk first.
* Do not add fresh milk to already frozen milk within a storage container. It is best not to mix the two.
* Do not save milk from a used bottle for use at another feeding.
* Clean breast pump parts after each use. Visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) web site on Cleaning a Breast Pump
Breast Pump Safety