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The Big Latch On-Spotlight on Breastfeeding: July 30, 2014

Among the many decisions Elyse Pickett faced as a mom-to-be, one stood out. It was a no-brainer.

“Absolutely. I, I knew I wanted to breastfeed the moment I found out I was pregnant,” says Pickett.

It’s a decision many more moms are making. Choosing breast over bottle for their baby. Experts see it as a huge boost.

“Oh, definitely breast-feeding has known benefits for mom and baby. We know it helped protect against infections for the baby, it may even help with brain development and IQ. We know that breast-fed babies are less likely to be obese or overweight later in life,” says Dr. Christy Cavanagh, who is a family medicine practitioner for Lee Memorial Health System.

Even with the best intentions new moms may face stumbling blocks. Many times the natural approach isn’t second nature. And then there’s ‘that’ - the social aspect of putting baby to breast in public.

“There is a little bit of a stigma with breastfeeding, especially in public. It is a bit of a challenge because she needs to eat every couple of hours but it’s something that I definitely am willing to do,” says Pickett.

To show support for breastfeeding, several local hospitals are taking part in a public display. Called the Big Latch On, moms around the globe will simultaneously breast feed for at least one minute. The event is meant to support nursing moms.

“There really is a national movement on getting more women to breastfeed. The Surgeon General of the United States has issued a call for breastfeeding. Really putting the call out to communities and health care professionals on how they can support the breastfeeding mom,” says Carol Lawrence, who is the clinical coordinator of the breast-feeding program for Lee Memorial Health System.

Lee Memorial Health System offers breast-feeding classes and training with certified lactation consultants, all an effort to lend a hand to the breast-feeding mom.