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World Breastfeeding Week

If you've ever given birth to a child (in America at least) or know anyone who has, then you may have heard of La Leche League International. LLLI, a true grass roots group that has flourished into a major international organization, is a formidable force in the movement to get every mother to breastfeed her baby, or babies, as the case may be. So what's my point? August 1st-7th 2007 is World Breastfeeding Week...yes, that's right, WORLD!

Apparently, babies/children are not the only ones who benefit from breastfeeding, so do mothers (the nursing mothers, that is) and society as a whole. This is not just me or even LLLI talking, this comes from such reputable organizations as the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Breastfed kids tend to be healthier (fewer acute and chronic illnesses), and when they do get sick, tend to have fewer symptoms and shorter illnesses. By school age, they tend to score higher on cognitive and IQ tests as well as visual acuity tests.

Okay, for mothers, breastfeeding is work...a lot of work. Imagine not being able to engage in any activities that take you away from the baby for more than two hours...at least in the beginning. Fret not mamas, you're doing something good for yourself as well. Breastfeeding reduces your chances of developing ovarian and pre-menopausal breast cancers, and osteoporosis. You are more likely to return to your pre-pregnancy weight and feel more attached to your child (no pun intended), and this is just to name a few benefits, find more here.

Finally, and maybe of most concern to the vast majority, the benefits to society include a decrease in the need for health services (which we ALL contribute to), fewer sick days (and happier co-workers, in the case of working mothers). For those who are eco-conscious, breastfeeding requires no packaging and the production in no way causes any harm to the environment.

And there you have it! I realize that not everyone can actually participate in World Breastfeeding Week but if you know any lactating mothers you may point them in the direction of this blog to get some good information and encouraging words.

Photo courtesy of jessicafm
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The Healthline Editorial team writes about the latest health news, policy, and research.

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