The first week in August is World Breastfeeding Week,
and Trinity Health System believes healthcare providers should support breastfeeding as a
way of countering malnutrition and the current formula shortages.
“We really need to take the time to promote breastfeeding, particularly in this post-pandemic
time where we don’t know if there’s going to be formula on the shelf tomorrow,” Dr. Brian J.
Burke, Trinity Health family physician, told Chloe Mesogitis of WTOV 9 on Thursday. “We need
to encourage mothers from the very beginning to breastfeed and to support them in that in
every way we can.”
World Breastfeeding Week is promoted by the World Health Organization and was initiated in 1992 as a global initiative to encourage awareness and support for breastfeeding.“Breast milk really is the best food an infant can have,” Dr. Burke said. “It is a whole food, which means it is the only thing an infant needs from day one until at least six months of age. And even after six months of age, solid foods are only complementary to the breast milk.”
Dr. Burke tells his patients that “food under one is just for fun.”
The recent formula shortage has brought to light how delicate the nation’s supply chain can
be, he added. “This has directly impacted a number of my own patients who have been
scrambling to find food for infants, and this brings us back to the importance of
Breast milk is free food for babies, Dr. Burke said. With proper support, mothers can provide it
on demand whether there are supply chain issues or not. “Breastfeeding is really the best
form of feeding for the infant for multiple reasons both immunologic and developmental,
providing the best food for the gut and growth. It also benefits the mother, too, decreasing
rates of postpartum depression and anxiety, diabetes, future cancers, and can help with high
blood pressures and multiple other health problems that can develop.”
Dr. Burke acknowledged that breastfeeding can be daunting for first-time mothers,
particularly in our current culture which is not completely supportive of breastfeeding.
“I want them to know that in reality there are a lot of resources, there’s a lot of support in the
healthcare community and in Jefferson County,” he said. “In this local area there’s a larger
number of breastfeeding mothers compared to other parts of the country. So it’s important to
reach out to your friends, family, and talk to your healthcare providers.”
He also recommended talking with a Certified Lactation Consultant, such as Elizabeth Swope
of Simply The Breast.
“Elizabeth has done a fantastic job for my patients,” Dr. Burke said. “And we have other
resources at Trinity Hospital and throughout the region.
“If we can promote breastfeeding, we can really decrease malnutrition. We’ve seen this
around the world where we’ve really encouraged breastfeeding in other countries where
formula is not regularly available. We can keep these kids healthy and safe and growing
Dr. Brian Burke, M.D., brings a unique background of training and experience to the local area. As a Navy Family Physician, he spent seven years serving in different locations, including overseas, and treated individuals of all ages with varying health needs and conditions. This experience included OB care and Dr. Burke delivered nearly 200 babies with the Navy. His training at Franciscan University in theology and his medical experiences have led Dr. Burke to recognize the individuality of each patient and the importance of the relationship of the mind, body, and spirit of the person. In addition, he has training in Natural Family Planning and cooperative reproductive support using NaProTechnology.
His office is located at 1800 Franklin Street in Toronto. His office number is 740-264-8781.