Fair helps educate women on benefits of breastfeeding

By Alyssa Donovan

August 6, 2013 Updated Aug 7, 2013 at 12:26 PM CDT

This week is recognized in 120 countries as World Breastfeeding week.

Governor Quinn declared the whole month of August 2013 Breastfeeding Promotion Month in Illinois.

The McLean County Health Department held a fair on Tuesday to educate moms on the importance of breastfeeding.

According to the CDC, 77 percent of infants today are breast fed in the U.S., up from 49 percent in 2010.

International Board Certified Lactation specialist Brandy Hansen said more women are breastfeeding because of the benefits.

"Breastfeeding offers a normal nutritive source. When they don't have breast milk they lose a lot of nutrition and there are a lot of things the babies end up lacking," she said. "The second thing is immunity, a mother is a huge part of a babies immune system especially for the first couple year's of their life. The third part is the parents, that connection."

Selina Boertlein has nursed all three of her children. She said there are many advantages.

"Most importantly the health benefits, bonding, my favorite thing is the bonding, and it's cheap," said Boertlein.

Despite the benefits, many women are uncomfortable breastfeeding, particularly in public.

Womenshealth.gov said carrying your baby in a sling can help with breastfeeding in public.

Anna Hubbard, owner of Once Upon a Sling called the carrier her 'sanity saver.'

"Because I was able to do everything I needed to do while taking care of the biological needs of my child," she said.

Hansen said she hopes the fair gives women a chance to see that Bloomington-Normal is a community that is supportive of breastfeeding.