Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration had pushed to block a resolution backing breastfeeding at a United Nations health assembly. Experts Paula P. Meier, PhD, RN, Tricia J. Johnson, PhD, and Aloka L. Patel, MD, explain why — and how — Rush promotes breastfeeding.
In recent days, considerable attention has been given to whether the United States optimally promotes and protects breastfeeding, using criteria defined by the World Health Organization.
From a global health perspective, breastfeeding is an early-life intervention that unequivocally enhances health and reduces societal costs, so its promotion and protection should be a national priority for allocation of health care resources. Not unlike immunizations, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and partial breastfeeding thereafter represent early foundational health behaviors that translate into lifetime health care savings for the infant, mother and society as a whole.
These health care savings result from a significantly lower risk of infections, allergy and asthma, childhood cancers, and later-onset noncommunicable chronic diseases such as overweight and obesity, hypertension and type II diabetes in recipient term infants.
I knew I wanted to breastfeed long before I became pregnant. However, I would be the first woman in my family to breastfeed for many generations, so I knew I had a lot to learn.
I had the opportunity to watch my best friend successfully breastfeed her daughter to a year old and beyond. I researched breastfeeding on the Internet, and I read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. I even attended Rush’s breastfeeding class while I was pregnant.
My daughter was born happy and healthy, but early. Delivered at just 36 weeks, she was considered preterm, a word I’d never heard before. It was not unusual in my family for babies to come early. All four of my sister’s kids were born two to five weeks early.
My preterm baby had a healthy appetite, but a shallow latch due to her size and early gestation. She gained weight slowly at first, which was very frightening to me as a new mom who was new to breastfeeding as well.
Rush is pleased to be part of the international trend toward creating “baby friendly” facilities. Part of being baby friendly means supporting exclusive breastfeeding and creating an environment that encourages bonding with your baby.
We understand breastfeeding can be a challenge, which is why we’re here to help moms and their babies on this journey. Our nurses and lactation consultants are trained to assist new moms and babies with breastfeeding. Ultimately, whether you choose to breastfeed or not is your choice. We are here to support you bonding with your baby whatever your decision.
Skin to Skin During the “Golden Hour”
The “golden hour” is the time immediately after delivery when the baby is dried off and placed directly on mom’s chest with the baby’s skin against mom’s skin, which is called “skin to skin.” Spending this first hour right against mom’s skin makes it much easier for the baby to adapt to the outside world. During this time the mom will be the only one holding the baby. The nurse may check the baby’s vital signs while the mom holds the baby in skin to skin. Visitors can come to see the mom and baby a few hours later.