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Birth Defects Prevention Month 2011. National Health Observances Toolkit.

Article / Review by on January 1, 2011 – 9:12 pmNo Comments

National Birth Defects Prevention Month

Sponsor: The National Birth Defects Prevention Network External Link

National Birth Defects Prevention Month is a time to raise awareness of birth defects and promote healthy pregnancies.

A birth defect is a problem that happens while a baby is developing in the mother’s body. One out of every 33 babies in the United States is born with a birth defect.

Many birth defects can be prevented. If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, these tips can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby:

  • Take a multivitamin with folic acid every day before and during pregnancy.
  • See your doctor or midwife regularly as soon as you think you’re pregnant and throughout your pregnancy.
  • Make sure your vaccinations are up to date.
  • Eat well and stay active.
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking, and other drug use.
  • Prevent infections from food and other sources.

Breastfeed Your Baby 

— The Basics

Breastfeed your baby for the first 6 to 12 months after birth. Breastfeeding is healthy for you and your baby.

If you have a health condition or are taking any medicines, talk with your doctor or midwife about breastfeeding before your baby is born.

Learning to Breastfeed. To learn more:

 (More at … Learning to Breastfeed )

Breastfeeding is a process that takes time to master. Babies and mothers need to practice. Keep in mind that you make milk in response to your baby sucking at the breast. The more milk your baby removes from the breasts, the more milk you will make.

What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is a healthy choice for both you and your baby.

Benefits for baby
Breast milk:

  • Has just the right amount of protein, fat, sugar, and water to help your baby grow
  • Helps protect your baby from infection and illness
  • Is usually easier for babies to digest than formula
  • Benefits for mom
    Breastfeeding:

  • Gives you and your baby time to be close and bond
  • Can save your family thousands of dollars
  • Burns calories
  • May help lower your risk of diabetes, depression, and some types of breast and ovarian cancers
  • When is my baby ready to eat other foods?

  • From birth to age 6 months:
    • Feed your baby breast milk only (no water, no juice, no nonhuman milk, and no foods).
    • It’s okay to give your baby vitamins, minerals, and medicine that your doctor recommends.
  • From ages 6 months to 12 months:
    • Keep breastfeeding your baby.
    • You can start feeding your baby cereal or other baby food.
  • For age 12 months and up:
    • Continue to feed your baby new foods that are recommended by your doctor.
    • If you can, keep breastfeeding.
  • — Take Action!

    Here are some tips for breastfeeding success.

    Talk to your doctor or midwife about breastfeeding.
    While you are pregnant, tell your doctor or midwife that you plan to breastfeed.

    Many health centers, clinics, and hospitals have lactation (breastfeeding) experts to answer all your questions and help you get started. These experts are usually called lactation counselors, consultants, or specialists.

    After you begin breastfeeding, you may still have questions. Talk to your doctor, nurse, or lactation counselor as often as you need to.

    Make a plan for after your baby is born.
    If you plan to go to work after pregnancy, a lactation counselor can help you plan to keep providing breast milk for your baby while you are away.

    Get more information about pumping and storing your breast milk 

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