According to a new report 77 percent of new mothers breastfeed. Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press has more:
Experts attributed the rise to education campaigns that emphasize that breast milk is better than formula at protecting babies against disease and childhood obesity. A changing culture that accommodates nursing mothers may also be a factor.“Even after food is introduced, continued breast-feeding is important and necessary past the first birthday for maximum disease resistance, immune function, and brain development,” explains Dr. Fuhrman.
The percentage of black infants who were ever breast-fed rose most dramatically, to 65 percent. Only 36 percent were ever breast-fed in 1993-1994, the new study found.
For whites, the figure rose to 79 percent, from 62 percent. For Mexican-Americans, it increased to 80 percent, from 67 percent.
Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher celebrated the report's findings, noting that black women have historically had lower breast-feeding rates.
"It was very impressive that when it comes to beginning to breast-feed, African-American women have had the greatest progress," said Satcher, who is now an administrator at Atlanta's Morehouse School of Medicine.