Friday, June 07, 2013

The Milky Way - A Breastfeeding Documentary

While the statistics show that breastfeeding rates in the US are going up, the US still has a way to go.  According to the CDC Breastfeeding Report Card 2012, Idaho leads the country in the percentage of women who ever breastfeed --> 90.8% and Mississippi is last at 47.2%.  If you look at the stats for those states who still have exclusive breastfeeding mothers at 6 months, Colorado leads with 26.6% and West Virginia is last at 9.1%.  

Part of the increase in breastfeeding rates can be attributed to the acceleration in percent of babies born in hospitals designated as Baby-Friendly, an international recognition of best practices in maternity care.  And while there are improvements statistically, the statistics also suggest that many mothers are not receiving the quality of care that will give them the best possible start to meeting their breastfeeding intentions, says the CDC.

Even with the Surgeon General's call for improved breastfeeding, the US still has not reached government goals.  The Healthy People 2020 calls for 60% of babies to breastfeed at six months and 34.1% being breastfed at 1 year.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women breastfeed their babies exclusively for six months.  The World Health Organization recommends the same, with continued breastfeeding with supplementary foods for two years and beyond.

Dr. Melissa Bartick, internal medicine physician in Massachusetts and was the 2011-2012 Chair of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition,   stated in 2011 that a study showed the then current suboptimal US breastfeeding rates cost the US economy $13 billion per year in 2007 dollars for pediatric health costs and premature deaths.  She went on to say that if 90% of mothers could comply with current medical recommendations around breastfeeding, our economy could save at least $3.7 billion in direct and indirect pediatric health costs with $10.1 billion in premature death from pediatric disease. 

Why then, with all of the known benefits, why are breastfeeding rates so low in the US?

Watch this partial "celebrity cut".....from producers Jennifer Davidson RN BSN IBCLC a pediatric nurses and lactation consultant at the pediatric practice of Dr. Jay Gordon MD in Santa Monica CA and Chantal Molnar RN MA IBCLC.


Bartick, M. Breastfeeding and the US Economy. Breastfeeding Medicine: The Official Journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. 2011 Oct: 6; 313-8.

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