Norwalk Reflector: 'The longer mom breastfeeds, the better it is for baby'

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'The longer mom breastfeeds, the better it is for baby'

• Aug 4, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Breastfeeding has benefits for both infants and mothers, both in the short-term and the long-term alike, according to Ohio University’s Ilana Chertok,

According to the World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for babies up to six months of age and continued breastfeeding (along with appropriate complimentary meals) for up to two years or beyond. Exclusive breastfeeding refers to six months of feeding babies with only breast milk. Continued breastfeeding mixes in solids and other foods while continuing breast milk.

Chertok, a professor and the associate director of nursing research and scholarship for OHIO’s College of Health Sciences and Professions, offered information on breastfeeding in light of World Breastfeeding Week recognized from Aug. 1 through 7.

Chertok said evidence shows an infant’s immune system matures around two years of age and that breast milk up to or beyond that age yields healthy benefits.

“Babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of acute and chronic diseases such as respiratory infection, diarrhea, pneumonia and other childhood illness. Breast milk also provides the necessary nutritional and metabolic requirements for infant growth and development, supports the development of the neurologic and immune systems and promotes the entire health mechanism,” Chertok said.

She added that some of breastfeeding’s long-term benefits — even after weening — are lower risks of allergies, asthma and inflammatory diseases as well as an association with higher cognitive scores.

“The longer mom breastfeeds, the better it is for baby,” she said.

“For moms, breastfeeding also helps decrease the risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer and risk for diabetes. Again, it’s dose-dependent; The longer breastfeeding occurs into toddlerhood, the more protective it is for mom,” Chertok added.

While a mother’s milk is best for her child, those who have trouble producing enough breast milk can order donated human milk from nonprofit human milk banks. Likewise, infants who are admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit may benefit from donated milk if their mothers are unable to sufficiently produce milk. Chertok said this alternative is better for babies than artificial formulas.

Currently, breastfeeding rates across the United States stand around 81 percent and the trend is increasing.

“What we’re not seeing enough of is a boost in moms exclusively breastfeeding their babies through six months of age,” Chertok said. “We know how important exclusive breastfeeding is for mothers and babies, but that rate in the U.S. is only about 25 percent. Ohio is under the national average with about 22 percent and rural Appalachia has even lower rates.”


Luncheon focuses on fall prevention

SANDUSKY — Firelands Regional Medical Center’s next Luncheon Club will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22 at the Sandusky Yacht Club, 529 E. Water Street, Sandusky. Speaker Elizabeth Wilson will discuss the topic “Falling is not a normal part of aging – Approximately 1 in 4 older adults fall every year.” Learn what you should be doing to stay on your feet. Enjoy the yacht club’s delicious Wednesday buffet lunch which includes the following for $18 per person (includes tax/tip; cash or check only please): deluxe salad bar, soup station and rolls, hot entrees with at least two meats, vegetables, pasta and/or fish, assorted desserts, hot tea, iced tea and coffee. The buffet lunch is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., followed by the presentation. The Luncheon Club program is open to the public and features knowledgeable healthcare providers. Reservations are recommended. Register online by visiting the calendar of upcoming events at or by calling 419-557-7840.


Programs help Parkinson’s patients to speak

SANDUSKY — The speech-language pathology department at Firelands Regional Medical Center has been awarded a grant through the Parkinson Voice Project. This project will bring Speak and Loud Crowd programs to Erie County. Firelands is one of just four facilities in Ohio to receive the grant funding that supplies training, materials, marketing and on-going education to support ongoing implementation of the programs.

Speak Out! will provide adult speech-therapy treatment sessions, with the primary goals being to strengthen the muscles used for speaking and swallowing and to teach patients how to speak with intent. The Loud Crowd is a follow-up program to provide ongoing vocal practice, accountability, support and encouragement after a patient completes therapy.

“We are thrilled to bring these new programs to Firelands and our local Parkinson community,” said director of speech-language pathology and pediatric outpatient clinics, Lisa Horchler. “Up to 90 percent of people with Parkinson’s are likely to develop speech disorders, and these new programs will help us implement treatment designed specifically for Parkinson’s patients to maintain their ability to speak out and communicate.”

In addition to speech disorders, aspiration pneumonia, caused by swallowing difficulty, accounts for 70 percent of the mortality rate for Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson Voice Project is the only nonprofit organization in the world solely dedicated to addressing these serious issues. For more information, call 419-557-7040.

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