Letter writer: Support breast-feeding as preventive medicine

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Breast-feeding is preventive medicine. The advantages to breast-feeding are numerous, and as a society, it benefits us all to support breast-feeding families. Breast-feeding is protective against maternal diseases such as breast and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes and postpartum depression. For babies, it is the best nutrition offered. It can reduce ear infections, GI infections, dermatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory tract disease, asthma, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, childhood leukemias, osteoporosis and, most importantly, infant mortality, just to name a few.

For us as a society, breast-feeding is environmentally friendly, and breast milk is a naturally renewable resource that requires no packaging. Breast-feeding reduces health care costs; mother’s milk serves as baby’s first vaccine leading to lifelong health for that child. Because breast-fed babies are healthier than their formula-fed counterparts, breast-feeding families will miss less work to care for an ill child.

In the Affordable Care Act, breast-feeding is covered under the women’s health and well-being preventive medicine section. We need to speak up to our elected representatives to ensure these vital services continue not only for women, but for their babies and for our world.

As a registered nurse and international board-certified lactation consultant, I have been supporting families since 1997. My private practice allows me to be an independent practitioner and provide lactation and infant feeding support. … Women with support breast-feed longer and feel better about their transition into motherhood. It is an honor for me to be part of the mothering journey. Thank you.

— Kimberly Rush


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