We compiled these Breastfeeding Facts of the Day In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, 2011:
8/7: Every state except West Virginia has a law that protects a woman's right to breastfeed in public. Some states have better laws than others, but it is legal for a woman to breastfeed anywhere she and her baby are allowed to be. It is a violation of her rights to ask her to "cover up" or leave a public location for breastfeeding. Besides, who wants to eat with their head under a blanket or in a bathroom?
8/6: Breastfeeding is not only beneficial for mothers and babies but it benefits the natural environment as well. Breast milk is a renewable natural resource that creates no pollution to produce and distribute. Conversely, the production and distribution of infant formula contributes to land, air and water pollution, deforestation, and unnecessary use of nonrenewable natural resources.
8/5: Breastfeeding is economically beneficial to families and society. The average cost of formula to feed one baby for a year is $1,750 plus additional medical expenses. It is estimated that at least $3.6 billion would be saved annually in health care costs to treat only three common illnesses - ear infections, vomiting/diarrhea, and gastrointestinal disease - if half of U.S. women would breastfeed to six months.
8/4: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Section 4207, requires any employer that has 50+ employees to provide reasonable break time and a private location that is not a bathroom for nursing mothers to express breast milk at work for one year after the child's birth. This provision went into effect immediately when the law was passed.
8/3: The healing properties of breast milk make it useful for much more than just nourishing babies. Use it to treat mosquito bites, sunburn, acne, eczema, sore throat, stuffy nose, pink eye, scrapes, diaper rash, makeup remover, chapped lips and much more. Breast milk is also used after chemotherapy to soothe nausea, promote digestion and strengthen the immune system, to help patients who receive donor organs fight off infection and those who donate organs to boost their immune system.
8/2: Breastfed babies have lower rates of ears infections, gastrointestinal tract infections, eczema, respiratory disease, asthma, childhood leukemia, obesity, type-2 diabetes, and death during infancy, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Breastfeeding lowers women’s risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression and promotes mother-infant bonding.
8/1: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months, yet only 13.3% of mothers in the U.S. and 9.9% of mothers in Florida are able to achieve this goal. The most common reasons for not breastfeeding are lack of support and inaccurate information.