August is National Breastfeeding Month

National Breastfeeding Month takes place each August. It's an effort to educate mothers about the importance of breastfeeding in the healthy development of their children. This year's initiative is focused on anchoring breastfeeding as a key component of worldwide sustainable development.

There are five themes including: nutrition/food, security, health, well-being and survival, environment and climate change, work productivity, empowerment, social protection, and sustainable partnerships and rule of law.

Lower frequency of illness/colds

The breast milk made after birth is called colostrum. It's dense with nutrients and antibodies that can help protect babies from infections. Additionally, colostrum plays a role in the development of a baby's digestive system and overall function. Research shows that babies who breastfeed are typically less-likely to contract colds and viruses, as well as develop pneumonia, diarrhea and other digestive maladies. Additionally, research has reveals breastfed babies are also less likely to develop chronic medical conditions later in life, such as type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and Crohn's disease.

Higher IQ Scores

In the long-term, a number of breastfeeding studies show children who were breastfed showed a 7.5 point increase in IQ by the time they reached elementary school age. Additionally, once these children reach adult life, they also showcase an increase in verbal, performance and comprehensive IQ.

Benefits for Mom

Breastfeeding moms will also reap the benefits of the practice. Women who breastfeed have a much lower risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis. They also have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Research finds that breastfeeding also burns extra calories.

It's Cheaper!

The cost of formula can range anywhere from $150 to $400 per month, and can leave significant nutrition gaps that can negatively affect the child's development. In the immediate and long-term, breastfeeding is a cost-effective, sustainable option.

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