Kings County Hospital hosted a special “Sip and Paint” event on Thursday for expectant and new mothers in celebration of World Breastfeeding Awareness Month.
The free community event was held to provide expectant mothers and their families with information about the many health benefits of breastfeeding in an effort to increase the number of infants who are breastfed.
Over 50 new mothers gathered for educational resources, movement therapy, painting, raffles, giveaways and more. A lactation consultant was available to answer questions about latching and the different breastfeeding positions, as well as provide information on breast-milk pumping and storage.
Breastmilk is the natural first food for babies. It provides ideal first nutrition for infants with antibodies that protect them against bacteria and diseases, and supports a healthy weight for both mother and child. Also, mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of depression. And, as importantly, breastfeeding is a wonderful way to express love and develop a bond between mothers and their babies.
Despite the clear benefits, there is still much work to be done to promote breastfeeding as a common practice among new mothers, particular among women of color.
Health department data on breastfeeding trends in New York City show that babies born to women of color and from high-poverty neighborhoods are less likely to exclusively breastfeed during the first five days after giving birth. In 2015, Latina mothers had the lowest rates of exclusive breastfeeding in the hospital compared to other racial and ethnic groups, at 29.4 percent. Black mothers had the second-lowest rate at 30.9 percent, followed by Asian/Pacific Islander women at 32.1 percent. In contrast, 47.5 percent of White mothers exclusively breastfed while in the hospital.
Breastfeeding is advantageous to all mothers, regardless of race or socio-economical background. Mothers who deliver their babies at Kings County Hospital are supported by an environment that promotes breastfeeding and encourages mothers to make breastfeeding a priority.