The Importance of Breastfeeding

As World Breastfeeding Week 2019 comes to a close, we at First Candle are committed to continuing our efforts toward supporting the key theme of this year’s event: Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding. 

The message of empowerment is critical, carrying with it the importance of support for all parents whose goal is to breastfeed their babies. Breastfeeding can be a challenge for many mothers, and studies have shown that having a support system in place is a key factor in increasing their chances for success.

Empowerment can take another form as well. If you’ve ever heard the term “knowledge is power” than you know that in order to make informed decisions, you must seek out as much valid information as possible. In the realm of breastfeeding, this means knowing and understanding clearly researched and vitally important benefits. 

Breastfeeding your baby lowers their risk of:

  • SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
  • Asthma and eczema
  • Type 2 Diabetes and obesity
  • Ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections

For mothers, benefits of breastfeeding include:

  • Lowered risk of breast and ovarian cancers
  • Reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure

When making the choice whether or not to breastfeed, it’s vital that parents are able to absorb these facts at face value in order to make an informed decision–and not view them as fodder for the social debate they can often spark.

As maternal and infant health advocate Kimberly Seals Allers wrote in a recent blog post, “[the] discourse has deteriorated to the level where anytime someone mentions the very real health benefits of breastfeeding versus formula feeding they are blindly accused of shaming.” 

Allers goes on to say that this miscommunication is detrimental to the greater goal of making the best health decisions for babies and mothers. “It leads us into emotional places about so-called ‘guilt’ and ‘shame’ instead of having productive, fact-based conversations on the known benefits.”

When making a health decision, rely on the facts. We support all mothers in breastfeeding whenever possible and are here to help empower parents everywhere toward that goal.