Breastfeeding definitely protects infants from getting the Swine flu, or the H1N1 virus, according to Cacilia Kim, commentator on the Womensenews website.
It is known that breastfeeding is without a doubt, the best form of nourishment for babies, and has incredible benefits for the mother. Women who breastfeed reduce their chances of of getting osteoporosis, breast and ovarian cancer, and type 2 diabetes. There are also numerous other health benefits, and let's not forget the everlasting bond that is formed between mother and child.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is presently telling mothers to protect their babies against the swine flu by breastfeeding them, and the agency maintains that one of the "best things" mothers can do for infants who become ill is to continue to breastfeed them. If the mother gets swine flu, it is recommended that she still continue to breastfeed, unless she is taking some form of medicine that could be passed on to the baby.
Six months of exclusive breastfeeding is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, along with one year of continued breastfeeding.
Children who are breastfed have a stronger immune systems, and develop a decreased risk for all kinds of illnesses such as bacterial and viral infections, allergies, leukemia, high cholesterol,just to name a few.
From a personal point of view I can testify that there is a lot less work to do when you breastfeed your baby, in that there are no bottles to prepare, formulas to mix, and paraphernalia to haul around.
Kim wisely emphasizes that breastfeeding your child the recommended way so that your baby turns out to be healthy -- is very difficult for many mothers. The reason is that over 50 percent of mothers with children under one year of age are working outside the home, often in "low-paying jobs with no private offices, no benefits like paid maternity leave, no flexibility and no job security" according to Kim.
About 12 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed for six months and 21 percent continue to be breastfed for one year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Women of color and poorer women breastfeed less than their more affluent Caucasian counterparts in this country. It used to be the opposite when breastfeeding was considered something that real ladies did not do, and was frowned upon. Only the poor and marginalized would do so.
Times have changed.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Women's Health launched a campaign on the detrimental effects of not breastfeeding. Women who did not breastfeed were portrayed as being reckless.
Kim maintains that, "True recklessness, however, is a government that makes those types of allegations without providing women with the necessary infrastructure -- such as paid maternity leave, on-site child care, workplace lactation rooms and flexible work schedules- that would encourage many more women to breastfeed."
A very tiny step is being made in the right direction in the following legislation that is being considered. It is the federal "Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009" which would insure that breastfeeding and expressing milk in the workplace are protected activities.
Every infant should be provided the best possible care to insure that she or he grows into a healthy individual. Breastfeeding is a vital part of that care.