“In a world filled with inequality, crises and poverty, breastfeeding is the foundation of lifelong
good health for babies and mothers,” is the slogan for World Breastfeeding Week 2018, recognizing
the importance of breastfeeding to a baby’s future. To promote early breastfeeding success and
breastfeeding outcomes, the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency offers a variety
of supports to families.
Breastfeeding peers, support groups, lactation consultants, and resource material is available
to every resident in the tri-county area. According to Maria Ansett, RN and International Board
Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) for the Local Health Department’s WIC Program, “the
availability of these resources is leading to higher breastfeeding initiation and duration rates, healthier
babies, and closer families.”
With no additional burden on household income, breastfeeding is also a low-cost way of
feeding babies and contributes to poverty reduction. Breastfeeding prevents hunger and malnutrition
in all its forms, and ensures food security for babies, even in times of crises. Breastfeeding is not only
a cost effective way to feed children, it helps set them up for a healthier future. There are a multitude
of benefits that result from breastfeeding.
A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2012 determined:
Any duration of breastfeeding was associated with a 64% reduction in the incidence of
gastrointestinal tract infections.
Breastfeeding contributed up to a 30% reduction in the incidence of type 1 diabetes mellitus
reported for infants who exclusively breastfed for at least 3 months.
The risk of hospitalization due to lower respiratory tract infections in the first year was reduced
72% for infants who were exclusively breastfed for more than 4 months
Serious colds and ear and throat infections were reduced by 63% in infants who exclusively
breastfed for 6 months.
The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency is here to support new moms, dads
and their babies. For more information on benefits of breastfeeding, visit www.bhsj.org or stop into
your local health department office. Step-up St. Joseph County is a collaborative effort of local
hospitals, health agencies and businesses focused on improving the health of our county one step at
a time. To learn more tips and events across St. Joseph County to help lead healthier lives, visit
www.stepupsjc.net and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StepUpSt.JosephCounty.
St. Joseph County Human Services Commission