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Breastfeeding: Putting the Stats into Practice

Written by jaz for RHRealityCheck.org - News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Breastfeeding has been a hot topic over the past couple of weeks, most recently with the release of a study in Pediatrics that asserted that over 900 children's lives can be saved each year if 90 percent of new mothers breastfed their babies for six months. It seems like a fairly simple goal; six months is a relatively short amount of time. However, the study explicitly says that mothers would have to exclusively breastfeed their children for six months, meaning exclusively feeding their babies breast milk; no water, formula or infant juice. This makes achieving this goal much more complicated.

Another study by the CDC highlights racial, ethnic and geographic disparities in breastfeeding. In 13 states (mostly southeastern), the difference between breastfeeding initiation rates between white women and black women was over 20 percentage points, and in six states black women's breastfeeding initiation rates were under 45 percent. This means that the majority of these women didn't even breastfeed at all.

So what's the connection? ... Read more