World Breast-feeding Week takes place this week, and this year's theme is "Breast-feeding: A Vital Emergency Response - Are You Ready?"The week began Saturday and continues through Friday.
Breast-feeding helps infants in many ways, including emergencies.
During the last two years, Colorado residents have experienced four types of environmental emergencies: fires, tornadoes, snowstorms and contaminated public water supplies.
Within minutes, a major emergency may leave a family without transportation, housing and access to a clean water supply.
Unfortunately, children and infants affected by disasters are the most vulnerable population.
An infant's chance of becoming ill, or even dying, can soar to 70 times the normal rate.
Exposure to illnesses such as diarrhea and respiratory infections is common, and without clean water sources, these diseases can escalate into deadly situations.
Breast-feeding shields an infant from these dangers because only breast milk contains antibodies, anti-viruses and anti-parasites. Breast milk continues to be the perfect food for infants.
To learn more about the benefits of breast-feeding, call San Juan Basin Health Department and ask to speak to a consultant at the Women, Infant and Children program.
Susie Young is a dietetic intern at the University of Northern Colorado. She is working this summer with the Women, Infant and Children program at the San Juan Basin Health Department.