“We already knew breastfeeding through the first year and beyond was beneficial to both mother and baby, but we have learned just how very beneficial breastfeeding can be and that has caused experts to revise their previous recommendations,” said Susan Pappas, a registered nurse and lactation consultant at the Family Maternity Suites at Springfield Memorial Hospital.
The AAP had previously recommended children be exclusively breastfed for about six months, at which point solid foods are introduced in addition to breastfeeding through the child’s first year. A policy statement issued by the AAP in late June recommends breastfeeding for two years or more.
Springfield Memorial Hospital offers a free Mom & Baby Support Group from 1-2:30 p.m. every Wednesday at the Memorial Learning Center, 228 West Miller St., Springfield. To register, call 217-788-3378.
The group is facilitated by international board certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs). Participants may engage in informal open discussions about a variety of topics, including challenges related to breastfeeding.
“There are common obstacles to sustained breastfeeding that are beyond our moms’ control that may lead to premature weaning off breastmilk. For instance, employed mothers who return to work may not have access to a safe, clean space to pump breastmilk or do not have access to onsite child care,” said Pappas. “But other aspects to breastfeeding are within our moms’ control, and they may just need the proper support to achieve their breastfeeding goals.”
The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 84 percent of babies born in Illinois start out being breastfed. Fifty-four percent are still breastfeeding at 6 months, with 25 percent breastfed exclusively. Thirty-two percent of babies are still breastfed at one year.