Thursday, May 01, 2008

Encouraging news: more moms are breastfeeding

Seventy-seven percent of new moms are breastfeeding their babies--at least at first. This is a huge increase since the early 1990s, when only 60 percent of new mothers tried nursing. The most dramatic increase has been among African-American women; their rates rose from 36 to 65 percent.

The lowest rates were among very teenage moms and the very poor. Not surprising when you consider they likely can't afford to take three months off and probably don't want to figure out where to pump at high school or a low-wage job. Still this research reflects what my mother-in-law has been saying. She's a pediatrician at a low-income clinic, and she said she's been seeing a lot more women conscious of the health benefits of breastfeeding and putting off the introduction of baby formula--even though they can get it for free through WIC.