08-03-2017 Columns

Breastfeeding on the Bluff event

The Berrien County Health Department in partnership with the Berrien County Breastfeeding Coalition will host the second annual “Breastfeeding on the Bluff” event occurring on Saturday, August 5 starting at 10:00 a.m. in Lake Bluff Park across from the St. Joseph Public Library in St. Joseph, Michigan.

The “Breastfeeding on the Bluff” event takes place on August 5 as part of the “2017 Global Big Latch On,” a global breastfeeding awareness celebration, where moms across the globe are linked in simultaneous breastfeeding, which occurs annually during World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7). Mothers, fathers, families and breastfeeding supporters are encouraged to arrive at 10:00 a.m. for registration, before the “Big Latch On” at 10:30 a.m. Breastfeeding support resources, gifts for moms, face painting for kids, a photo booth, and refreshments for the whole family are provided. Transportation to the event is also provided and can be reserved by calling the Berrien County Health Department.

The Berrien County Breastfeeding Coalition has a mission to provide support for the community by identifying and growing opportunities for on-going breastfeeding support and promotion, normalizing breastfeeding in the community, and ensure that families have the resources needed to have a successful breastfeeding relationship. The Coalition has membership and support from a variety of community organizations, such as Lakeland Health, InterCare Community Health Network, and Michigan State University Extension, as well as representation from breastfeeding mothers and advocates.

In Michigan, 80% of moms initiate breastfeeding after birth; however, at 3 months of age, only 42% of babies are still being exclusively breastfed. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least six months of exclusive breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding has been proven to have countless health benefits for mothers and babies, as well as long-term positive public health impacts throughout the community. As of June 24, 2014, Michigan mothers who nurse their children in public are protected from discrimination and prosecution under bipartisan legislation signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. The “Breastfeeding Anti-Discrimination Act” gives women the right to nurse a child in any place that is open to the general public, including stores, restaurants and municipal buses.

More information can be found at www.facebook.com/berriencountybreastfeedingcoalition or by calling 269-926-7121.

Diversify your investments but consolidate your providers

You have probably heard that diversification is a key to investment success. So, you might think that if diversifying your investments is a good idea, it might also be wise to diversify your investment providers – after all, aren’t two (or more) heads better than one?

Before we look at that issue, let’s consider the first half of the “diversification” question – namely, how does diversifying your investment portfolio help you?

Consider the two broadest categories of investments: stocks and bonds. Stock prices will move up and down in response to many different factors, including good or bad corporate earnings, corporate management issues, political developments and even natural disasters. Bond prices are not immune to these dynamics, but they are usually more strongly driven by changes in interest rates. To illustrate: If your existing bond pays 2 percent interest, and new bonds are being issued at 3 percent, the value of your bond will fall, because no one will pay you full price for it. (Of course, it may not matter to you anyway, especially if you planned to hold your bond until maturity, at which point you can expect to get your full investment back, providing the bond issuer doesn’t default.)

Here’s the key point: Stocks and bonds often move in different directions. If you only own U.S. stocks, you could take a big hit during a market downturn, but if you own domestic and international stocks, bonds, government securities, certificates of deposit and other types of investments, your portfolio may be better protected against market volatility, and you’ll have more opportunities for positive results. (Keep in mind, though, that even a diversified portfolio can’t prevent all losses or guarantee profits.)

So, it clearly is a good idea to diversify your investment portfolio. Now, let’s move on to diversifying financial service providers. Why shouldn’t you have one IRA here and another one there, or enlist one advisor to help you with some types of investments and a different