World Breastfeeding Month is here! In August, the world celebrates breastfeeding and its many benefits! Breastfeeding organizations and supporters have worked hard to promote breast milk and breastfeeding as the optimal food for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months and then with the addition of complimentary foods through the first year and longer as mutually desired by mother and baby. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding and weaning foods added at 6 months. WHO believes that breastfeeding should continue for 2 years and beyond if mom and baby prefer.
Every mother has the right and privilege to have the opportunity to nourish her baby how she desires and in a way that feels best for her family. Support from her family, friends and community is essential in her success and confidence. This can happen in a variety of ways from exclusive breastfeeding to pumping her breast milk, supplementing with formula or exclusively offering her baby infant formula and all families should have the assurance they are doing what is best. For mothers returning to work, this can be a difficult decision and she may not feel confident in her desire to continue breastfeeding and working. Introducing a bottle, choosing a breast pump, talking with her employer and maintaining her milk supply can be overwhelming!
At the Gallatin City-County Health Department, we are working hard to support families who are returning to work and wish to continue breastfeeding. Our Lactation Education Program serves communities and works with health care providers, employers, and families to create support networks to make this possible! From Bozeman to West Yellowstone to Livingston and Ennis, the Lactation Education Program Coordinator is reaching out to families and communities to establish resources for success.
Currently, the Working & Breastfeeding Class is offered monthly in Bozeman and will be expanding to West Yellowstone the end of 2015. Covering topics such as choosing a breast pump, pumping technique, talking to your employer, maintaining supply, storage guidelines and the current laws protecting your right to express breast milk at work, this class will assist you in adequately preparing to return to work or school.
Call Gallatin City-County Health Department at 406-582-3100 for more information.