JACKSON TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The benefits of breastfeeding are getting some vital attention, which some say is long overdue. Eyewitness News met with a local mom today to discuss the importance of breastfeeding.

“It’s definitely brought us closer and, you know, it’s been a wonderful experience,” says Amy Feldman, a Jackson Township mother who breastfeeds her 1-year-old son.

Breastfeeding is the norm for mom Amy Feldman and her just-turned-1-year-old son August. When she’s working from home or has the day off, she says she typically nurses her young son four or five times a day.

Not to say it’s easy. “It’s definitely a commitment between pumping and actually nursing, you know. There are some sleepless nights with it involved,” says Feldman.

When she knows she’ll be away from her son, she has breast milk she’s already pumped ready to be mixed and poured into a bottle so that someone else can feed him. So why do breastfeeding moms like Feldman go through what some might consider a major hassle?

“While formula has all of the basic nutrients that a child requires to grow, breast milk contains innumerable other components including prebiotics, probiotics, stem cells, immunoglobulins, antibodies essentially from the mother’s body to protect the baby,” explains Elizabeth Kosmetatos, MD, IBCLC, the lactation consultant at PAK Pediatrics NEPA Breastfeeding Center

Breastfeeding protects babies from early development of such things as respiratory, gastrointestinal, and ear infections.

“Those advantages alone, especially in the first few months of life when infants are so fragile, are incredible and you cannot replicate that,” states Kosemetatos.

Despite significant advantages of breastfeeding, Luzerne county ranks 58th of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties for breastfeeding initiation. Dr. Kosmetatos encourages new moms who are physically able to produce breast milk to give it a try.

“Our job is to help moms maximize what they can produce, help them meet their goals whatever they might be and teach them and educate them,” says Kosemetatos.

Feldman hopes she can continue nursing august for another year or two.

“Whenever he is ready to call it quits, that’s when we’ll call it quits,” says Feldman.

The American academy of pediatrics recently released recommendations that babies be breastfed until two-years-old or beyond, and the Luzerne county breastfeeding coalition is working to recruit more lactation consultants.

Head to the AAP website and PA First Food to learn more about breastfeeding.