Breastfeeding Prevents Infections; But is That Enough To Convince American Moms?
Do you plan to breastfeed? Did you know that not only is it cheaper than formula feeding it also cuts your baby's chance of catching common infections?
The BBC posted this fascinating story online today, "Breastfeeding 'Prevents Baby Infections,' Research Suggests", that discussed the pros and cons of feeding your baby breast milk exclusively for six months. With all of the statistics and back up evidence that you would expect to see in a research study to support it, the article author and researchers remained somewhat mystified as to why women weren't following the World Health Organization's suggestion that newborns be breastfed exclusively for at least 6 months.
What was most surprising to the researchers, was that of the 926 vaccinated infants studied;"Almost two-thirds of mothers were breastfeeding at one month, but this figure dropped to just under a fifth at six months. Overall, 91 of the infants were exclusively breastfed for a full six months." Why did so few mothers continue to breastfeed after the one month mark? What external factors could there be that are affecting these numbers? Could it be the length of parental leave or the cultural associations with breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding has been promoted by Super models like Gisele Bundchen, Celebrtities such as Salma Hayek, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Garner and there are websites devoted to it such as Breastfeeding.com, Breastfeeding Canada.ca, Dr. Jack Newman, US Breastfeeding, and La Leche League USA.
So, why isn't it a more popular choice? You would think during the huge crunch-time of the infant stage when money is stretched pretty tight, people would want to choose the cheaper option, but according to the Center for Disease Control statistics on breastfeeding in the USA, that simply isn't the case; "The most recent CDC data show that 3 out of every 4 new mothers in the U.S. now starts out breastfeeding. The U.S. has now met the Healthy People 2010 national objective for breastfeeding initiation. However, rates of breastfeeding at 6 and 12 months as well as rates of exclusive breastfeeding at 3 and 6 months remain stagnant and low.
More babies in the U.S. are now born at Baby-Friendly™ facilities than ever before. However, these births still represent less than 4% of all U.S. births. Further, the CDC mPINC survey of all birth facilities in the U.S. shows that the average score for facilities nationwide is only 65 out of 100, and only 2 states' facilities scored 80 or more points.
A greater number of people are now working on improving how states support mothers and babies to breastfeed. Nationwide, health departments now dedicate nearly 97 full-time equivalents (FTEs) to supporting breastfeeding mothers and babies in their states. However, this still represents less than 2 FTEs per state dedicated to a health issue that is clearly recognized as a national priority.
What do the numbers tell us?
High breastfeeding initiation rates show that most mothers in the U.S. want to breastfeed and are trying to do so. However, even from the very start, mothers may not be getting the breastfeeding support they need. Low breastfeeding rates at 3, 6, and 12 months illustrate that mothers continue to face multiple barriers to breastfeeding.
Across the U.S., the average level of support that birth facilities provide to mothers and babies as they get started with breastfeeding is inadequate, and hospital practices and policies that interfere with breastfeeding remain common. In the U.S., too few hospitals participate in the global program to recognize best practices in supporting breastfeeding mothers and babies, known as the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
What can states do to improve breastfeeding rates?
Use the Breastfeeding Report Card to identify your state's needs, develop solutions, and work together within your community to better protect, promote, and support breastfeeding statewide.
Percent of Children Who Are Breastfed at 6 Months of Age, Among Children Born in 2007 (Provisional)
Source: National Immunization Survey, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services
This data is also available in table form. "
So I would like to put it out to our fabulous board members;
Do you plan to breastfeed? Why or why not?
Rest assured this is a non judgmental space and every one is more than welcome to their opinions, provided they are stated in a friendly manner.