Tag Archives: maternal health

World Breastfeeding Week 2018: Mother’s love, Mother’s Milk

World Breastfeeding Week offers a perfect time to highlight the benefits of breastfeeding.

The annual observance, coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), is August 1-7, 2018. This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life,” focuses on educating everyone on how breastfeeding is the foundation of lifelong health for babies and mothers. In a world filled with health disparities, it is critical that all babies have a strong foundation for a healthy life. According to WABA, breastfeeding prevents hunger and malnutrition in all its forms and ensures food security for babies, even in times of crises.

“Breastfeeding is one of the best gifts a mother can give her child,” said Ellen Babb, DHEC’s Breastfeeding Coordinator. “No formula can equal the unique combination of easily digestible nutrients and immune factors found in human milk. In addition to numerous physical benefits for mother and baby, breastfeeding promotes a special, lasting bond between them.”

Tackling the myths

Unfortunately, there are many myths about breastfeeding that have made many mothers indecisive on whether to breastfeed their babies or not. Take a look at a few of them below.

Myth: I won’t be able to make enough milk.

Moms almost always make enough milk to feed their babies. Your baby is likely getting more than you think at each feeding. A newborn’s stomach is only the size of an almond. If you eat in a healthy way, drink water, and nurse often, your milk supply should be plentiful. If you have any concerns about your milk supply or your child’s weight, check in with your baby’s doctor or nurse.

Myth: Breastfeeding hurts.

The truth is that breastfeeding is not supposed to be a painful experience. In fact, pain is usually a red flag that something is wrong. While a baby’s latch can be strong, it’s not actually biting, not even when the baby is cutting teeth. As with any new skill, there is an adjustment period. WIC provides breastfeeding peer counselors, lactation consultants, and educational materials to help you get a good start and proper latch – a key to preventing pain. There’s a number of organizations in South Carolina (such as hospitals, lactation centers, and the WIC Program) that offers assistance with breastfeeding through lactation counselors, lactation consultants, peer counselors, and educational materials to help you get a good start and proper latch – a key to preventing pain.

Myth: If I breastfeed, the baby will want only me, or be spoiled.

Just because you breastfeed does not mean that your baby will only want you or be spoiled. While there is a joyful closeness and bonding that occurs during breastfeeding there are also many things others can do, especially dad. He can do things such as playing with the baby, holding baby skin to skin, changing diapers, and more. When dad holds baby skin-to-skin, he can also develop a special bond with the baby. For those worried about spoiling their babies, research shows that breastfed children grow up to be confident and self-sufficient when parents work to meet their other emotional needs.

Challenges of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be challenging, especially in the early days but you are not alone. Lactation consultants can help you find ways to make breastfeeding work for you and your baby. Some women face challenges while breastfeeding, while others do not. Additionally, some women may have certain problems with one baby that they may not have with others. Click here to learn more tackling breastfeeding challenges.

Human milk is the best milk

It is important for moms to know that any amount of breastmilk you give to your baby will be of great benefit because every ounce counts! Human breast milk has been the normal, natural milk to nourish babies since the very beginning of our existence. Breastfeeding promotes a joyful closeness with your baby and a special lifelong bond. It’s a gift only you can give your baby!

For more general information about breastfeeding, click here. For information about how WIC can help with breastfeeding, please click here.

South Carolina’s infant mortality rate at all-time low

By Jamie Shuster

Every year wmom and babiee release new data on infant mortality in South Carolina to give our partners and health care providers a benchmark of how the state is doing in our efforts to reduce infant deaths. This year, I’m pleased to announce that the data shows South Carolina is making great strides in keeping babies healthy and safe.

The newly released 2013 data shows that the infant mortality rate in South Carolina has hit a record low. Between 2005 and 2013, our state’s infant mortality rate dropped by over 25%, from 9.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 6.9 in 2013.

One of the sharpest declines in infant deaths was among African-American babies, with rates dropping from 12.5 in 2012 to 10 in 2013. While disparities in infant mortality rates persist by race, South Carolina’s racial disparity in infant mortality rates between African-Americans and Whites has fallen below the national average for the first time ever. We’re also encouraged by a 41% decrease in accidental sleep-related deaths between 2012 and 2013, which suggests that our state’s safe sleep educational efforts are also making a difference. Continue reading

Text4Baby Challenge

By Jamie Shuster

Providing health education to our clients and the communities that we serve is one of our top priorities at DHEC. With the rise in popularity of smart phones and texting, our outreach efforts are evolving to better serve our clients and connect more South Carolinians to health education resources by reaching out to them directly via text messages.

Starting August 1, DHEC’s regional public health teams will be launching a twelve-week challenge to enroll clients in Text4Baby, which is a free cell phone text messaging service for pregnant women and new moms. Text messages are sent three times a week with information on how to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. The text messages are timed to the pregnant woman’s due date or the baby’s date of birth. Continue reading

Maternal Mortality: A Call to Action

By Jamie Shuster

(The following post was originally sent as an email to DHEC Public Health staff on 1/10/14.)

You may have read in the news recently about a new effort we’re launching to find ways to make pregnancy, and the months that come after it, safer for South Carolina women.

Maternal mortality is not only a tragedy for families and communities, it’s also often avoidable. According to the CDC, nearly 50% of maternal deaths are preventable.

Unfortunately, between 2009 and 2012, 41 women died during childbirth or within six weeks of delivery in our state.

To help find solutions to this public health problem and prevent future tragedies, later this month, Director Templeton will be hosting our state’s first-ever S.C. Pregnancy-Associated Maternal Mortality Review Board. Continue reading