For years, multiple studies have shown that breast feeding can be positive for the both mother and the baby's health. But sometimes mothers and babies may need help with breast feeding issues. Studies link breast feeding to decreased incidents of childhood asthma, diabetes and leukemia.
West Virginia is 15 percent below the national average of babies who are breastfed. Dr. Emily Nease, a Healthcare Pediatrician with West Virginia University, believes a lack of professionals around the state may be a factor. "When you look at the number of trained lactation nurses for example, there are fewer in West Virginia than in other states," said Nease. "So the support available to women once they leave the hospital may be less, particularly in rural areas."
Breastfeeding mothers may experience issues with low milk supply and uncomfortable latching or breast infections. Babies may have trouble feeding and with gaining weight. Moms benefit from breastfeeding by lowering their risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, according to Dr. Nease, as well as ovarian and breast cancer. "We see benefits in infants which include lower numbers of ear infections, lower numbers of gastrointestinal infections in infants, lower hospitalization rates in infants that get lower lung infections such as pneumonia and RSV bronchiolitis," said Dr. Nease.
The American Academy Of Pediatrics recommends six months of exclusive breast feeding before introducing additional foods.