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Mother's Milk: The First Step to Good Health

The goal of the Alabama Department of Public Health Breastfeeding Promotion Program is to promote the physical and emotional well being of childbearing families and their infants by increasing the rate and duration of breastfeeding in the state. Breastfed babies are generally healthier than formula fed babies. One way to accomplish this goal is public education. The purpose of this curriculum guide is to help form positive attitudes toward breastfeeding.

Our attitudes are shaped early in our lives by cultural, emotional, and social forces. We develop our beliefs about what is or is not acceptable from our families, teachers, and friends. Clearly, we know that motherís milk contributes to the health and wellness of infants. Formula is an alternative, but it does not provide the same amount of benefits as breast milk. We know that breastfeeding is the best. Current research tells us that breastfeeding impacts health through adulthood.

This curriculum may be used in its entirety or you may choose to use any individual lesson as a "spot activity." Each lesson can be incorporated into a content area such as social studies, science, health education, and/or family and consumer science. The course of study content standards are identified in the above four subject areas according to grade levels; however, many of the lessons can be used at levels above or below the one designated in the lesson. Reading the entire curriculum will allow you to decide which grade level a particular lesson fits best: Motherís Milk Education Package for Grades K-12.

Developing Thinking Skills

For children to develop a positive attitude regarding motherís milk, we must help them learn from an early age why it is a good choice for mothers and their infants. We must also address the issue that there has been a significant worldwide decrease in breastfeeding, and we need to promote how breastfeeding contributes to a child and mother's well being.

We need to address affective learning to help students value good health. The learner needs to be aware of the pressure from advertisers to promote formula feeding, to analyze how demands of a career can affect a woman's choice to breast or formula feed, and to develop a positive attitude regarding the importance of motherís milk.

Developing the thinking skills of our students is critical towards an acceptance of breastfeeding. Practical, interesting examples that help students examine the benefits of breastfeeding are demonstrated in order for them to form their own positive values. Students can practice using their thinking skills while learning about other content areas. The curriculum guide is offered to help reach the goal of positive attitudes towards motherís milk and to ultimately increase the number of women who choose breastfeeding.

Gayle Whatley, RN, WHNP-BC
Central Alabama Perinatal Director
OSC 252 1720 Second Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294
Phone: (205) 934-6254
Fax: (205) 934-7779
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