More Mothers Are Breastfeeding But Not Long Enough

February 8, 2013  |  
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According to MSNBC, a new report from the CDC gave good news and bad news. The good news is that more and more mothers are breastfeeding. The bad news is they aren’t doing it for the recommended 12 months.

Their investigation found that between 2000 and 2008, the number of mothers who reported breastfeeding rose from 70.3 percent to 74.6 percent. The largest increase was in women who were still breastfeeding their babies at 6 months; that number increased from 34.5 percent to 44.4 percent. Also significant is the percentage of mothers breastfeeding at one year (23.4 percent up from 16 percent).

Still, researchers reported that even though more women were breastfeeding across the board, less than half of babies were being breastfed at six months. They say women are having a hard time making it past six months because they’re not getting the support they need from doctors, employers or hospitals. The study’s authors hope their findings will spur doctors better guide mothers as they’re breastfeeding, hospitals to reach out to mothers once they check out and employers to give mothers the facilities and time they need to be able to pump.

The CDC says an increase in breastfeeding support from employers may be most important for black women, who, at 59 percent, are breastfeeding significantly less than their white and Hispanic counterparts (75 and 80 percent respectively). The organization has also suggested an increase in lactation consultants in predominantly black neighborhoods, as well as groups that promote nursing. Breastfeeding has several known benefits, such as lower risk of obesity, asthma, ear infections and other childhood infections. The American Association of Pediatrics strongly recommends mothers breastfeed for the first six months of their child’s life while adding approved supplements. After six months, the AAP says moms should keep breastfeeding until Junior’s first birthday while introducing other foods.

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