Health Plus: Breastfeeding - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Breastfeeding

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Breastfeeding is much more than a nourishing way for mom and baby to bond.

Research shows it is a life-saving intervention, especially for infants in emergencies.

In Health Plus, Tara Thomas talks with one mom who nursed her child through the floods while their home was underwater.

Kate Hackett has been nursing non-stop for six years.

Her four boys, ages 16 months to six, have each been breastfed exclusively up to age 2.

Joseph is close to weaning himself but a year ago when flood waters submerged their home on Waterloo's San Souci Island, mom's nursing helped both of them cope.

"Carrying him with me to meet with the SBA and FEMA amd DHS trying to get our lives back together and nursing him the whole way. But the one thing that I will say was kind of a saving grace was the fact that he made me sit down. I mean I had to sit down and I had to nurse so I couldn't run anymore."

At Covenant Medical Center, lactation consultant Susan Wirtjes has seen the positive impact breastfeeding can have on a newborn.

"Even with this new flu that was scaring everyone earlier in the year. There's been found to be some protection against that in mother's milk despite the fact that mother may not have had it herself yet."

Susan and staff work with moms like Kate everyday in the hospital, but outside these walls she knows how much nursing can help in vulnerable situations.

"There are times when parents have no options to shop, no options to get out there and also no options for protection from bacteria or viruses.  They say that the first milk, that colostrum, one teaspoonful has something like 3-million bacteria and virus killers in it."

31-year-old Kate works full-time but did not let it stop her commitment to breastfeeding her four sons.

"I went back to work 8 weeks after my second was born and that wasn't long enough so my third and fourth I went back after twelve weeks. And then I would take my first break and pump, go home at lunch and nurse and then pump on my second break."

And one year after nursing her youngest through such a trying time, Kate and her family are back on their feet... and healthy.

In Waterloo, Tara Thomas Iowa's News Channel Seven.

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