August 24, 2023

Why Breast is best (National Breastfeeding Month)

“Mothers and babies form an inseparable biological and social unit; the health and nutrition of one group cannot be divorced from the health and nutrition of the other.”

-World Health Organization

August is National Breastfeeding Month, a time to acknowledge, empower, and celebrate mothers on their breastfeeding journeys. While Breastfeeding is nationally celebrated annually in August, the benefits of breastfeeding have a lasting lifelong positive impact on mothers and children.  At Hackensack Meridian Pascack Valley Medical Center, our team members take pride in being a part of every mother’s breastfeeding journey. “Globally, breastfeeding is recognized as a way to keep children (and mothers) healthy, but the benefits of breast milk last a lifetime. In order to promote breastfeeding, it’s important to take the month to encourage moms and support them”, said Erica Cantatore, RN,BSN,IBCLC,LCCE, the lactation consultant at Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, New Jersey. She continued, “While this is something that is globally recognized as a part of healthcare, it’s not easy. It doesn’t always come naturally. I share with parents that breastfeeding is a skill, it takes lots of practice and patience. I use tools such as images of the newborn stomach size to help ease concerns. Many families believe that newborns need a large amount of milk to be satisfied. I also teach all breastfeeding moms hand expression. This is a wonderful way for moms to offer their milk to their baby when he/she is having trouble latching or is too sleepy. It also provides breast stimulation in between feedings”.

 The nutritional, emotional and medical benefits of breastfeeding are both rewarding and astonishing.

Nutritional, Emotional and Medical Benefits of Breastfeeding

·       Breastmilk has 100% of all the ingredients a baby needs.

o   The World Health Organization states that breastmilk is safe, clean and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses. Also, breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese and less prone to diabetes later in life. Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

o   Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) lists other benefits including improved dental health and neurodevelopmental outcomes for children. Children are also said to have a decreased risk of SIDS, Leukemia, obesity, celiac disease and much more. Equally important, other maternal benefits include a decreased risk in Rheumatoid Arthritis, endometrial and thyroid cancers and much more.

·       Breastmilk comes in just the right amounts and at the exact right temperature.

·       Breastfeeding promotes attachment, the long-lasting bond between mother and baby.

o, a site trusted by parents and pediatricians, quotes, “Breastfeeding releases hormones in your body that promote mothering behaviors. This emotional bond is as vital as the nutritional benefit. Breastfeeding promotes a growing attachment between mother and baby that will continue to play an important role in a baby’s development for years to come.”

·       Human milk is easily digestible.

o   This makes breastfed babies spit up less often, having less diarrhea and constipation.

At Pascack Valley Medical Center, our lactation consultant, nurses and team members are committed to breaking the barriers many parents face in meeting doctors’ recommended breastfeeding guidelines. We aim to uplift mothers and families in every moment and in between, ensuring an ally of lactation support. To learn more about Breastfeeding, visit to sign up for your breastfeeding class today! 

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