More than 20 mothers across Putnam County and the greater region took part in the Big Latch On, meant to raise awareness and promote breastfeeding worldwide last Friday.
The third annual event took place at the Carmel Fire House and at 10:30 a.m., the mothers simultaneously breastfed their child or children, along with hundreds of moms in the United States and around the world. Hosted by the Putnam County Department of Health, officials stressed the importance of breastfeeding an infant or toddler.
Lactation specialist for the health department, nurse Diane Liscia, said breastfeeding is the healthiest option for both mother and child, describing it as nature’s way to ensure the baby has all the nutrients and bonding he or she needs. Down the road, the baby is healthier with less chance of respiratory and ear infections, she said and the mother’s breast health is also better as she grows up.
There are public service announcements that make clear breastfeeding is best for option, and doctors usually emphasize it to their patients, she said. Babies should be breastfed between six months and three years of age, Liscia noted.
After World War II, formula was pushed to the forefront and seen as the more enlightened way to feed a baby, Liscia said, but over the last several decades, possible ramifications have been connected to formula.
Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Nesheiwat reminded residents, particularly new mothers, that the health department has a wealth of resources for those who just gave birth that include immunizations, the WIC program and breastfeeding education.
Through breast-feeding, mothers are able to deliver vitamins, protein, and antibodies that lower the risk of infection, allergies, diabetes, and asthma, to their babies, Nesheiwat said.
“It’s also correlated with higher IQ’s, less depression, less anxiety when they go into adulthood,” Nesheiwat said of breastfeeding. “I think it’s a great program and I hope more new moms take advantage of these resources.”