The Affordable Care Act aims at improving affordability and accessibility of preventive care to citizens. This is because prevention saves the government on time, energy, and money by ensuring a healthy society. There are several provisions that the government hopes to use to achieve this end. One such provision is the use of breastfeeding support to enhance breastfeeding as a preventive measure. Breastfeeding support involves the use of professional and lay counselors to encourage mothers to start breastfeeding early, and for a longer duration. The mother’s milk forms a child’s main diet in the first few months of birth. Breast milk is nature’s most balanced diet, ensuring that children develop well. It is also safe, as it is free of contaminations. The mother’s milk is always at the right temperature for the baby’s consumption. Studies show that exclusive breastfeeding within an infant’s first six months boosts his or her health and enhances good development. Health organizations encourage mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months in order to enhance their growth. Despite the high significance of breast milk, most mothers do not breast-feed their children enough, if at all. Breastfeeding practices vary from country to country and from one mother to another. Health bodies like World Health Organization (WHO) show that the rate of breastfeeding is low in parts of the world like the Dominican Republic and Mexico, while it is high in other parts such as Columbia. Figures representing these rates vary annually. Breastfeeding support aims at encouraging mothers to breastfeed their children adequately, in order to ensure a healthy young generation.
Breastfeeding supporters include peers, counselors, and lay individuals who are trained to support mothers and their children. Inadequate breastfeeding is related to a number of barriers that most mothers face. Supporters of breastfeeding mothers help them overcome hindrances to breastfeeding such as cultural, work place, commercial, health, and legislative barriers. This enables the mothers to get professional information concerning such issues as insufficient milk, breast feeding rights at the work place, and the effect of milk-substitutes on their babies’ health. Without these barriers, most women are able to prolong the length of their breastfeeding. The aim of breastfeeding support is to increase the rates of ignition of breastfeeding, the length of breastfeeding, and the exclusivity of breastfeeding. This enhances the health of newborn babies in the short-term and in the long-term. Increased breastfeeding acts as a natural birth control through increased lactation amenorrhea.
Breastfeeding a child exclusively for over six months has several benefits to the child, the mother, and the society. Breastfeeding lowers the child’s susceptibility to a wide range of diseases. These include multiple central nervous system disorders, heart diseases, obesity, and diabetes. Thus, the breasted children are less likely to contract these diseases even when they grow up. Lengthy breastfeeding also ensures that the children acquire a higher IQ, better vision, hearing, and dental health. Breast milk also enhances better immunity throughout the life of the child by providing immunoglobulin. Therefore, breastfeeding has both long-term and short-term benefits to the health of the infants (Pan American Health Organization).
Breastfeeding is also beneficial to the mothers. For instance, it strengthens the emotional bond between the mother and her child, and this helps the mother understand her child better. The mother’s health also benefits as breastfeeding helps her maintain her weight. This is possible as breastfeeding helps burn calories associated with baby weight. Further, breastfeeding lowers the chances of developing diseases such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and osteoporosis. Breastfeeding is also beneficial to the whole community. If each mother would embrace breastfeeding, several ailments would be avoided in both the mothers and the children. Thus, childhood mortality and development of conditions such as obesity will reduce. This implies a disease-free community. Less infant mortality and less disease development save the society on medical costs, which are then directed to other public services. Mothers who do not breastfeed their children miss more days from work to care for their often-sick children. Thus, breastfeeding enhances work place productivity, as mothers need fewer sick leaves. The community also benefits since the amount of trash reduces dramatically. This is because breast milk comes in eco-friendly packages that can be reused without wear. This is unlike the formula milk and other substitute meals that are often packaged in non-biodegradable materials. Breastfeeding thus enhances the society’s well being as a whole (World Health Organization).
Extensive, timely, and continuous breastfeeding is a necessary preventive care measure. Breastfeeding is non-expensive and thus affordable to all classes of people regardless of their race, language, or socioeconomic status. Thus, it is incorporated to preventive care to help reduce the incidence of diseases in both mothers and infants. As already mentioned, breastfeeding helps reduce diseases such as obesity, ovarian cancer, breast cancer and diabetes. These epidemic diseases claim several lives annually and affect the health of the society as a whole. The government spends a lot of money in handling these diseases. An increase in breastfeeding practices helps in reducing medical care costs by preventing the occurrence of these diseases. For instance, breastfeeding is used as an obesity preventive measure. Children who are breastfeed adequately develop good eating habits, and this helps prevent obesity development. This is unlike those who are not fed. Mothers who breast-feed are also able to burn more calories than their counterparts. This helps them reduce chances of overweight associated with baby weight. Preventing childhood obesity provides a solution to other diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases. This is because obesity encourages the development of these diseases. The professional nurse plays a significant role in breastfeeding support. The nurse may offer support during clinical visits to mothers by encouraging them to breastfeed. She may also refer the mothers to support centers for further assistance. Further, the nurse may visit the mothers in their homes to discuss on the need for exclusive breastfeeding. This helps the mother overcome inhibitions over breastfeeding and embrace breastfeeding as a preventive care measure (World Health Organization).
In conclusion, breastfeeding has many benefits to the child, the mother, and the nation. There are no side effects associated with breastfeeding. However, mothers often do not breastfeed their babies adequately due to professional, social, and cultural pressures. These pressures are often misconstrued, and the role of the breastfeeding support system is to address these ideas. The government encourages breastfeeding support as one of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. This is because, as a preventive measure, breastfeeding is accessible, readily available, and affordable to all people, and at all times.