Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lack of Breastfeeding Costs Lives, Billions of Dollars

A recent study concluded that "if most new moms would breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life, it would save nearly 1,000 lives and billions of dollars each year."

Here's a link to the CNN article about the study:

This is important information! The study shows that breastfeeding actually saves lives.

The sad thing is how few mothers actually breastfeed their babies for the minimum recommended first 6 months of life. This is recommended by the World Health Organization, the Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"A 2009 breastfeeding report card from the CDC found that only 74 percent of women start breastfeeding, only 33 percent were still exclusively breastfeeding at three months and only 14 percent were still exclusively breastfeeding at six months."

Why are breastfeeding numbers so low? The article states that mothers "receive mixed messages and often lack support from the moment their babies are born." The articles also says that mothers are not to blame, and that we need improvements in maternity care to give mothers adequate breastfeeding information and support.

One thing I run into when I post and talk about breastfeeding is that women often feel guilty if for whatever reason they did not breastfeed their baby. The guilt turns to defensiveness and seems to only build barriers in trying to communicate the amazing benefits of breastfeeding. I really feel that breastfeeding advocates (including myself) are not trying to hurt anyone's feelings or give anyone a guilt trip. We are really trying to educate mothers, fathers and their families and friends about the importance of breastfeeding.

There is a really good editorial blog post about this issue on the Public Health Doula blog:

Are you ready for another one? An Absolutely brilliant blog post about breastfeeding and American culture. I couldn't have written it better myself:


Check them out and tell me what you think!

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