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The Department of Justice bows to Trump demands – at least, in part. Also on the rundown: the latest Supreme Court ruling deemed a blow to workers' rights; plus a solar program back by popular demand.

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National Breastfeeding Month Is Here

PHOTO: Efforts to get more mothers to breastfeed their babies are paying off as 79 percent of moms in the United States begin nursing, and the health benefits for them and their babies are many. Photo credit: Mothering Touch/Flickr.
PHOTO: Efforts to get more mothers to breastfeed their babies are paying off as 79 percent of moms in the United States begin nursing, and the health benefits for them and their babies are many. Photo credit: Mothering Touch/Flickr.
August 4, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – August is National Breastfeeding Month, which has supporters touting the benefits of mother's milk, often called "nature's perfect baby food."

Marian Tompson, who founded the organization La Leche League, says mothers who are able to breastfeed can reduce their risk for diabetes, cardiovascular conditions and some forms of cancer. For the baby, she says, there are a variety of health benefits as well, including as a stronger immune system, better motor development and fewer allergies.

"There have been thousands of studies during the past 50 years that confirm babies are healthier when they're breastfed," says Tompson. "And it makes sense, because they're getting the food that was meant for their growth and development."

When La Lache League was created in the 1950s, Tompson recalls, fewer than one in five mothers started out breastfeeding her baby. Today that figure is 79 percent.

While more mothers are starting with breastfeeding and nursing infants longer on average, Tompson believes there are still too many women who quit in those first weeks or months, often because they must return to work and are separated from their babies.

"I think our culture could do things to make it a little easier for those women – with flex-time, with allowing them to have a baby close by where they could get over to nurse," Tompson says. "And I think we have to appreciate how important breastfeeding is to us all before we'll see a lot of those changes."

She adds one initiative already having a positive impact is the growing number of U.S. hospitals that are gaining certification as breastfeeding-friendly. There are now nearly 200 of them across 44 states.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO