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    Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | August 5th, 2019

    Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding

    True or false

    1. Breastfed babies typically get sick less.
    2. Children who are breastfed have a decreased chance of developing diabetes and asthma.
    3. Breastfeeding has been linked to a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
    4. Breastfeeding burns 500 – 600 calories a day.
    5. Breastfeeding benefits society.

    August is National Breastfeeding Month and August 1 – 7 is World Breastfeeding Week.  It is not too late to celebrate. The theme for the week is Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding now and for the future. On the World Alliance For Breastfeeding Action (WABA) website, the slogan was chosen to be inclusive of all types of parents in today’s world. Breastfeeding is in the mother’s domain and when fathers, partners, families, workplaces, and communities support her, breastfeeding improves. We can all support this process, as breastfeeding is a team effort. To enable breastfeeding, we all need to protect, promote and support it.

    Here is what we can do to protect, promote and support breastfeeding:

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

    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.

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

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

    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.

    Be aware of the resources that are available – click here.

    The answers to the five statements above were true.

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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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