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Breastfeeding: Good for mom, baby, all of us

Aug. 28, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Women are frequently harassed for breastfeeding in public. It reached a fever pitch in 2006, when a woman was kicked off a flight for breastfeeding while the plane was still at the gate. We wonder what the airline would have done in mid-air. Clearly, the crew didn't know what was best for baby, mom or them.

Breastfeeding benefits everyone, not just infants, who gain immune strength and protection from everything from diarrhea to type 2 diabetes and asthma. If all new moms breastfed for the first year, it could help women avoid 5,000 cases of breast cancer, 54,000 cases of hypertension and 14,000 heart attacks annually. And health care savings? A whopping $860 million a year, according to a study in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

So, our recommendations are:

1. When possible, extend breastfeeding from six to 12 months (or more). Nursing in the morning and before bedtime may help accommodate introduction of solid food and your work schedule. Dr. Mike's Cleveland Clinic offers employees breaks for expressing milk, and your boss should too!

2. Acknowledge that some people find viewing your bare breast embarrassing; it shouldn't be a hardship for you to cover up a bit.

3. To make breastfeeding as healthful as possible for you and your child, eat 5-9 servings of vegetables and fruit daily, only 100 percent whole grains and skinless poultry and fish (we love salmon and ocean trout). Skip red meat, added sugars and syrups, and all trans fats. Plus, take an omega-3 DHA algal oil supplement -- 900 mg a day.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.

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