Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week

Melissa Antaki and Jessica Davis, Lactation Consultants, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Breastfeeding, chestfeeding, or breast pumping has huge health benefits for mothers and their babies. Babies who receive their mother’s own milk are protected against respiratory illnesses, ear infections, child and adulthood cancers, obesity, and hospital admissions.

Babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) who receive their mother’s own milk demonstrate improved developmental outcomes, lower risk for necrotizing enterocolitis, and a shorter length of hospital stay. Babies receive these benefits regardless of mother’s age, race, education, social status, or nutritional status. Mothers who provide milk for their babies are at a lower risk for postpartum hemorrhage, postpartum depression, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.  It is also completely free and can be less time consuming than other methods of infant feeding! Mother’s own milk is truly the best product on the market!

World Breastfeeding Week is August 1 to August 7 each year. Because mother’s own milk gives all babies the opportunity to start life with a healthy foundation, the theme for World Breastfeeding Week 2018 is “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life”.

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the Division of Newborn Medicine recognizes that “Mother’s Own Milk is Life Changing Medicine” for medically fragile infants. UPMC Children’s Hospital’s Breastfeeding Committee is hosting multiple events for staff and families to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week. These events are designed to raise awareness and understanding about the benefits of mother’s own milk. Additionally, a UPMC system-wide collaborative of physicians, nurses, and lactation consultants has been formed to promote, protect, and support the provision of mother’s milk at all UPMC Neonatal Intensive Care Units.

Thursday, August 2 also marks the commencement of a weekly in-patient breastfeeding support group.  The Milk and Cookies Breastfeeding Support Group is unique from other breastfeeding groups because the education is tailored to meet the needs of mothers whose infants have medical complications.  It also gives mothers an opportunity to receive support from peers that have similar experiences.  This support group is available to all mothers at UPMC Children’s.

Lactation support is available at UPMC Children’s seven days a week. Please contact Jessica or Melissa at 412-692-7285 with any lactation related concerns.