Back in the 1970's, food product corporations campaigned in the "Third World", to sell their infant formula. They spent advertising in the millions, to target mothers of newborns, making them feel guilty if they breastfed instead of giving the packaged formula to their babies.
Doctors worldwide reacted, but the damage was done. Mothers still sacrifice to buy formula. And not only in the so-called Third World.
US government researchers at the Center for Disease Control reported the findings of a newborn survey this week.
In the USA, less than half of mothers breastfeed their newborns, for even half as long as advised! And a mere 22 percent still do so at one year!
Why is this news so stunning in its long-term implications?
- Breastfeeding lowers a mother's (or any woman's) risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
- Breastfed babies are less likely to be obese as they grow older.
- Breastfed babies benefit from their mother's\immune system through the mother's milk, and have fewer infections.
So why are mothers breastfeeding less and less, with all this known?
The government researchers found that while 75 percent of newborns get breastfed right after birth, mothers quickly quit. Even though guidelines call for babies to get at least some mother's milk for the first year of life, many mothers choose formula and bottles, saying its less trouble, or believing it better for their infant.
The CDC team found that only 43 percent of U.S. mothers were still breastfeeding at six months, and 22 percent at a year.
But there is a wide variation in regions of the country. In Utah, where many Mormons reside, 90 percent of newborns are breastfed. And 52.5 percent in Mississippi.
Many studies show a range of health benefits from breastfeeding. Fighting childhood obesity is one of the main goals of President Barack Obama's administration.
The Academy estimates if more U.S. women breastfed their babies, it could lower annual U.S. health costs by a staggering $3.6 billion.
We need to direct even more effort toward making sure mothers have the support they need in hospitals, workplaces and communities to continue breastfeeding beyond the first few days of life, so they can make it to those six and 12 month marks," said Dr. William Dietz, director of CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends newborns get NOTHING BUT BREASTMILK for the first six months of life.
They emphasize that mothers should continue to breastfeed as the child begins taking other food--- until at least the end of the first year, and longer if desired is also a plus!