Having a new baby at home can be overwhelming even for the most prepared parents – especially if it is your first child. You may not be getting enough sleep and may be wondering if you are giving your baby all that she needs to be healthy. Some parents may also feel confused by mixed messages in parenting books and magazines and ask – what is really best for the safety of my child?
The good news is that your baby’s basic needs are simple. In early weeks and months of life, nourishment and protection are most important. First, I recommend that all new mothers breastfeed if they can. Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. It is always ready (no bottles to clean!) and it is free. I know that it is not easy (work demands, sore nipples…) – but if you can, keep it up for six months. The benefits are long-lasting; breastfeeding prevents allergies, protects against infection and helps you and your baby bond. And there is good news for you too, Mom. Breastfeeding burns 500 calories a day and will help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight. It also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Last night I went uptown to attend the annual World AIDS Day commemoration that the Global HIV/AIDS Ministry holds at the Riverside Church. I was so humbled by all the amazing stories that were shared. It reminded me how proud I am to be a part of a community so dedicated to stopping the spread of HIV.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, and although a lot has changed since 1988, much remains the same. New York City is still at the epicenter of the U.S. epidemic with more than 100,000 people living with HIV and AIDS, and nearly 3,000 new infections being diagnosed every year.