Regional Health: Benefits of Breast Feeding

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) Before welcoming their newborn baby into the world, mothers face a lot of questions, including whether to breast-feed.

According to Dr. Prescott, mother's milk is the ideal food for your baby.

It's not the same as cow's milk. Breast milk contains the right combination of fat, protein and antibodies to help your infant develop and to protect them against disease. Regional Health is currently seeing an increasing number of moms' choosing to nurse their newborns. About 77 percent of babies are now breast-fed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up from just 60 percent more than a decade ago

The recommended amount of time to breast-feed from the CDC is approximately 12 months after birth and thereafter as long as mother and baby desire.

Breast milk contains antibodies, which help babies fight off viruses and bacteria. Also, babies who are breast-fed exclusively for the first six months have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses and bouts of vomiting and diarrhea illnesses. For the mom, breastfeeding is a bonding experience between herself and the baby, and it decreases the risk of breast cancer and post-partum depression. It also can help cultivate relationships with other new moms. It also saves money. According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, the United States would save $13 billion per year if 90 percent of U.S. families breast-fed their newborns for at least six months - due to decreased illness, decreased medical cost, lost workdays and wages.

Regional Health has professionals in Rapid City and Spearfish that will provide consultation, classes and support groups. Dr. Prescott is the only pediatrician that is also an international board certified lactation consultant in West River that specializes in breast-feeding medicine and alleviating stress to mothers who experience issues with breast-feeding.

There are a multitude of resources and information out there for moms and dads that will provide them with additional information. For moms who aren't able to breast-feed, you can find information on donated breast milk through the Mother's Milk Bank and to meet other moms who have experienced what you're going through