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Early breastfeeding in spotlight

"Early to Breast, Early to Thrive” is the theme for World Breastfeeding Week, which runs Oct. 1-7.

This year focuses on initiating breastfeeding in the remarkable first hour of life.

All babies should have skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and the opportunity to breastfeed. This is when baby’s sucking reflex is strongest.

Breastfeeding in the first days after birth produces milk called colostrum, which is sometimes called “liquid gold.”

This milk is rich in nutrients and antibodies serving as protection against some illnesses. It cannot be artificially reproduced.

Its life-giving properties are what makes initiating breastfeeding in the first hour after birth so critical.

Breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact promotes bonding between mother and baby to enhance infant attachment. It keeps the baby warm and reduces baby’s stress leading to steadier breathing and heart rate.

It also stimulates the release of a hormone that helps reduce maternal bleeding after delivery.

Early initiation helps mothers and infants achieve successful breastfeeding practices for the first six months. This leads to a greater likelihood of continued breastfeeding with adequate complementary food for up to two years and beyond.

Help us celebrate World Breastfeeding Week by supporting the message “Early to Breast, Early to Thrive.”

With encouragement from family, friends, and breastfeeding friendly-communities, we will help to give our children the best possible start.

Supporting breastfeeding mothers today is an investment in a healthier community tomorrow.

For more information, visit the Northwestern Health Unit’s website at www.nwhu.on.ca

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