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Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic Provider Explains Benefits of Breastfeeding

Press Releases
July 26, 2017

Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC) is celebrating World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7 by talking about its benefits.

There are many benefits to breastfeeding, according to Beth Earthman, ARNP, at Lincoln Avenue Medical-Dental Center. 

“Breastfeeding provides babies with all the nutrients and vitamins they need and helps protect them from illness. An infant who is breastfed is helped in fighting against allergies, sickness and even obesity,” Earthman added.

Breastfed babies have also been known to have lower rates of asthma, ear infections, and the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Earthman added.  There is also a decreased risk for diabetes for a breastfed baby.

Breastfeeding is also beneficial for moms in a number of ways. Lactation has been proven to ease moms back to their pre-pregnancy weight. It also reduces the risk of breast cancer.

“Breastfeeding supports healthy growth of the baby, and increases the bond between moms and babies,” Earthman said.

The hormone, oxytocin, is released through skin to skin contact and breastfeeding, oxytocin is referred to as the “bonding hormone” and it helps to reduce anxiety in both mother and baby.  Bonding between mom and baby helps give babies their first intimate relationship. Studies have shown babies who are held and comforted when they need it during the first six months of life tend to be more secure and confident as toddlers and older children.

“Bonding with baby is also essential for mom, it helps decrease symptoms of post-partum depression,” Earthman said.

But you can bond with baby, even if you can’t breastfeed, Earthman says.

“For moms and other caregivers who aren’t breastfeeding, skin to skin contact with baby, and always holding baby while bottle feeding are ways to increase the bond between mom and baby,” she added.

There are a number of hindrances that may make moms unable to breastfeed. The first few weeks can sometimes be very difficult, Earthman said. But help is available. YVFWC staff and clinicians are on hand to offer breastfeeding support if mom has questions, or needs advice. For questions about breastfeeding, Earthman suggests contacting the nearest YVFWC medical site by visiting 


About Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic: The Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides comprehensive medical, dental, and social services for more than 141,000 people throughout the Pacific Northwest. Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic employs 1,390 full-time staff and more than 600 part-time staff, medical residents, dental residents, students and volunteers. Facilities: 19 medical clinics, 10 dental clinics, 57 programs. Locations: Washington State clinics are located in Grandview, Prosser, Pasco, Spokane, Sunnyside, Toppenish, Yakima, Walla Walla and Wapato. In Oregon, clinics are located in Hermiston, Portland, Salem and Woodburn. Visit: