Tag Archives: mother

Mother and baby benefit greatly from breastfeeding

By Ellen B. Babb, PhD, MPH, RD, LD, CLC
WIC State Breastfeeding Coordinator
DHEC Division of WIC Services

Just how beneficial is breastfeeding for mothers and babies? Let us count the ways.

  • Human milk provides the ideal balance of nutrients for an infant’s growth and development.
  • Human milk is easy to digest and protects babies from diarrhea and other stomach issues.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS, as well as infectious and chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
  • Breastfeeding saves money.
  • Breastfeeding provides a unique bonding experience for mother and baby.

Considering all those benefits — and there are more — is it any wonder that pediatricians and other health officials encourage mothers to breastfeed?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire.

World Breastfeeding Week

We cannot overstate the value of breastfeeding, which is why August 1 – 7 is set aside as World Breastfeeding Week. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) encourages all expectant and new mothers to know the facts about the important health benefits of breastfeeding.

In South Carolina, 73 percent of babies have been breastfed for some period of time, 13 percent are exclusively breastfed at six months, and 14 percent are breastfeeding in some capacity at 12 months. Among all WIC mothers in South Carolina, 24 percent of children under age 1 are being breastfed.

WIC Supports Breastfeeding Moms and Babies

Many times moms and babies need assistance to get the most out of breastfeeding. That’s where DHEC’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program comes in; we have supportive breastfeeding staff, which includes breastfeeding peer counselors, certified lactation counselors and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, ready to help.

WIC provides resources and services such as:

  • Breastfeeding education materials
  • Enhanced breastfeeding food packages
  • Breastfeeding support groups (Circle of Friends)
  • “How to Breastfeed” classes
  • Breast pumps and supplies

One of the best ways to get a good start breastfeeding after giving birth is to have your baby at a Baby-Friendly Hospital, where mothers are given optimum support to initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies safely. To view a listing of South Carolina hospitals that have received this designation, please click here.

The success rate among mothers who want to breastfeed can be greatly improved through active support from their families, friends, communities, clinicians, health care leaders and employers.

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

Love Your Mother’s Heart

On this special day set aside to celebrate our mothers and shower them with love, let’s also take time to focus on their hearts.

Did you know that more than 22,000 S.C. women were hospitalized for heart disease in 2014? According to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for African-American women and the second leading cause of death for white women in our state. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death for all women in the Palmetto State.

May is also Stroke Awareness Month and this is Women’s Health Week, both perfect opportunities to remind our mothers, grandmothers, daughters and those other important ladies in our lives of the benefits of healthy habits to prevent these potentially deadly diseases.

 

Quit smoking

Every day, nearly eight women die from smoking in South Carolina, according to DHEC’s Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Morbidity, and Economic Cost analysis.  Women who smoke are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack as women who don’t smoke.  In fact, an average of two women die every day in our state from heart disease linked to smoking.

quit tobacco momDHEC manages the S.C. Tobacco Quitline, a free behavioral counseling service for all South Carolinians who want to quit for keeps.  Individuals can take advantage of one-on-one support from a trained Quit Coach via phone or web, a personalized treatment plan, a Quit Kit, and features such as text message support and helpful mobile apps.  Tailored programs are available for pregnant callers.

The Quitline can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). For Spanish, call 1-855-DEJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569).

Do you want to help a loved one quit smoking but are not sure how to start the conversation? Check out these tips for helping others quit smoking.

Get moving

Regular physical activity could reduce the risk of high blood pressure—a contributing factor to heart disease and stroke—by nearly 20 percent. In South Carolina, 53 percent of women do not get the recommended amount of physical activity—30 minutes a day for five days a week or more than 150 minutes a week. A simple daily brisk walk can help you get to a healthy weight, improve your mood and prevent high blood pressure.

Find more physical activity tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.

Eat healthy

Remember mom’s mealtime lectures about eating all your vegetables? Her advice is right, health experts agree.

Fruits and vegetables provide important vitamins, minerals and fiber that can reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Check out our serving sizes and shopping tips page for recipe ideas and tips on healthy eating.

Know the signs

The most common sign of a heart attack in both women and men is chest pain, but women often experience other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea and back and jaw pain. Read more about heart attack symptoms in women at the American Heart Association page.

Stroke symptoms include sudden:

  • Numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg;
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding;
  • Trouble seeing or experiencing blurred vision;
  • Trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination, dizziness; or
  • Severe headache with no known cause.

If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms, don’t wait—call 9-1-1. Read more about how to spot a stroke and what quick steps to take here.

Mother’s Day is truly a time to celebrate family so take this opportunity to take care of yourself if you are a mother or share some healthy encouragement with the women in your life.