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    A CALL TO ACTION

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | August 12th, 2018

    A CALL TO ACTION

    This past week, I was talking with my obstetrical patient about breastfeeding and she wanted to know whether I had breastfed my children. I was hesitant to reply because although I did breastfeed my children, it was for selfish reasons. I breastfed because I knew I could lose weight quickly, I loved how my breasts looked (I went from a B cup to a D cup) ,  I was too lazy to wash bottles and I had my mother and mother-in-law by my side and they would not consider me feeding their grandchildren with anything else.  And breast milk is free.

    Although breastfeeding has been around since the existence of humans, we now have the evidence to show that breastfeeding is truly an investment in health. Infants who are breastfed have reduced risks of asthma, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, ear and respiratory infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding can help lower a mother’s risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer and breast cancer.

    August is National Breastfeeding Month and we are all called to action to support breastfeeding.  Although in the past 24 years, the rate of breastfeeding has increased in the United States, there is still a disparity when it comes to Blacks and Whites. According to the CDC, Black infants are 21 % less likely to have ever been breastfed than white infants. Black women disproportionately face the following barriers:

    • They often have to return to work earlier.
    • They are not receiving enough information about breastfeeding from their providers.
    • They lack access to professional breastfeeding support.

    THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE.

    We know that society benefits from breastfeeding. According to the Office of Women’s Health:

    • Breastfeeding saves lives – Research shows that if 90% of families breastfeed exclusively for six months, nearly 1,000 death among infants could be prevented each year.
    • 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 a 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.

    A CALL TO ACTION – What can we do?

    Talk about breastfeeding – Breastfeeding is part of life and we should tout the benefits of breastfeeding.

    Be aware of the resources that are availablewomenshealth.gov

    When buying gifts for a baby shower, buy the gifts that support breastfeeding -nipple pads, nursing blouse, breastfeeding pillow, breast pump, etc.

    Advocate for women in your work place– have a dedicated private place for nursing, allow adequate breaks and have a refrigerator dedicated to storing milk.

    If you have a positive story about breastfeeding – share the story – It is often the people with negative stories that talk the loudest.

    Offer options – if latching is a problem, milk can be expressed and put in a bottle. What is important is that it is breast milk.

    Breastfeeding can be exhausting – offer to run errands, clean the house, babysit the other children in the house.

    Be a cheerleader – provide encouragement, give a hug, be present.

     

    For more information on breastfeeding, please click here.

     

    4 Responses to “A CALL TO ACTION”

    1. ChiChi Nwokolo says:

      I still remember each time i breastfed my kids, everything stopped just for that moment in time,(Of course when i finally figured what to do..LOL) Precious and priceless.

    2. Bea says:

      I breastfed my daughter and sent my breast milk to the babysitter. A couple times I had to leave work to go feed her because her boyfriend drank the milk.

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    Secure Your Copy of Letters to My Sisters by Dr. Ngozi Osuagwu.
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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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