Most people know that breastmilk protects babies and children against infection and illness. It’s the only food needed for the first six months of a baby’s life. Breastmilk is recommended until two years and beyond and offers endless health benefits to babies, children and mothers. If a mother is not able to fully breastfeed, even small amounts of breastmilk have value for her baby.

But did you know that breastfeeding also helps our planet to be healthy?

This is just one of many breastfeeding topics you can read about on the BC Baby-Friendly Network website at web link. The website has good up-to-date links to other websites and articles. These give information that can support breastfeeding mothers and help all of us learn about new breastfeeding research.

Breastfeeding help is also available free of charge from public health nurses at your local health unit (see health unit contact information on this page). If you have questions or need help as you plan for and breastfeed your baby, please call.

Meanwhile, check out some new breastfeeding online resources from the BC Baby-Friendly Network website:

Why Breastfeed? The Case for Breastfeeding(www.breastfeedingmadesimple.com/whybf.html). A collection of articles by Nancy Mohrbacher.

Breastfeeding has gotten some bad press in the past couple of years. If you are struggling with breastfeeding—or just feeling discouraged—you may wonder why you should continue. Are the effects of breastfeeding trivial? Or is it something that can have lifetime health effects? In fact, the health benefits of breastfeeding are well-documented and quite powerful. In short, it’s very much worth your time and effort.

“Hands-on pumping” (www.bcbabyfriendly.ca/handsonpumping.pdf and newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/MaxProduction.html). Lactation Education Resources 2009.

Combining pumping and breast massage has been shown to increase milk production in research conducted by Jane Morton MD, at Stanford University, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. She found that adding breast massage and “hands-on pumping” increased mothers’ average daily volumes by 48 per cent.

A Non-Prescriptive Recipe for breastfeeding (www.biologicalnurturing.com/pages/downloadarticles.html), by Suzanne Colson.

Suzanne Colson presents a new approach to breastfeeding using semi-reclined positions that benefit mother and baby.

Infant Feeding Affects Climate Change (www.slideshare.net/tanyakaye/infant-feeding-affects-climate -change). Malta Breastfeeding Coalition.

This Power Point presentation from the Malta Breastfeeding Coalition applies a “green” lens to the act of breastfeeding that is thought provoking and informative.

How I Breastfed My Babies and Saved the World, by Norma Ritter, New Beginnings. La Leche League International. 2009, Issue 4.

Breastmilk requires no resources for packaging, shipping, or disposal. It’s a natural, renewable resource and is all the baby needs for the first six months of life.

For more breastfeeding information from La Leche League, visit: web link (Canada) web link (International)

Happy World Breastfeeding Week, October 1 to 7 in Canada!

Irene Rathbone is a Public Health Nursing Coordinator at the Peninsula Health Unit and has worked to support breastfeeding families for over 30 years.