KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City grandmother is letting us in on her secret to encouraging new mothers to breastfeed.
Studies show that four out of five women will breastfeed. Of that number over half will continue for six months, but only a third will breast feed their babies for the year that most doctors recommend.
"Exclusively breastfeeding for six months is preferred, but one year is great," explained pediatrician Angie Linz of American Academy of Pediatrics.
"Breastfeeding infants gives them important antibodies from their mothers. They can help fight off infections, reduce the risk of allergies and asthma, diabetes and down the road, obesity."
But Linz said she does understand the obstacles to long-term breastfeeding.
"Maternity leave is limited. If you’re lucky, you may get 12 weeks. But when you go back to work you’re lucky if you have the ability to pump and maintain your breast milk supply," she explained.
Crocheting her way into the hearts of her community, Margaret Smith came up with a way to offer some support.
"I started off giving these to the mail lady," Smith said as she showed FOX4 her crocheted hats and blankets. "She would find out if the person was having a boy or girl, and I would make them one."
Smith said she's been knitting hats that have the shape of a breast on top for several years as a way to encourage new mothers to breastfeed.
"Back then, I breastfed but not as long as I should have because I had to work," she said. "But all women should try to breastfeed for as long as they can."
If you're interested in learning more about the health benefits of breastfeeding and where statistics stand, visit the Center for Disease Control's website.