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Breast-feeding catching on with new moms, with 77 percent now nursing their young

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 2nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

More modern, 21st century women are turning to ancient methods to nourish and bond with their newborns. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 2013 Breast Feeding Report Card found that 77 percent of new mothers are breast-feeding their babies. That's from 71 percent 10 years ago. Almost half of breast-feeding moms are continuing to do so for at least the recommended six months.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In tracking trends, the report studied breast-feeding rates from 2000 through 2010 across the country.

"This is great news for the health of our nation because babies who are breastfed have lower risks of ear and gastrointestinal infections, diabetes and obesity, and mothers who breastfeed have lower risks of breast and ovarian cancers," Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a press release.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies are exclusively breast-fed for about six months. Newborns should then be given supplementary breast-milk for a year or longer.

The latest CDC report shows that in 2010, 49 percent of mothers were still breast-feeding when their child was six months old, and 27 percent were still doing so when the child was one year old. Back in 2000, rates were 35 percent and 16 percent respectively.

The new report bolsters similar finding by the CDC made in February of this year. The CDC announced at that time that mothers who were still breast-feeding at six months increased from 35 percent in 2000 to nearly 45 percent in 2008.

Breast-feeding helps provide protections for infants by giving them nutrients and antibodies. Breast milk is easier for infants to digest, it's been shown to protect against disease.

Breast-fed babies have lower rates of necrotizing enterocolitis, which is a disease of the gastrointestinal tract that affects preterm infants, respiratory infections, asthma, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, Type 1 diabetes, childhood leukemia and a type of skin rash known as atopic dermatitis. There was an also a decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.

Recent studies have also shown that children who are breast-fed longer could possibly give the baby a boost in intelligence.

Mothers also benefit from breast-feeding. Nursing a child has been linked to lower rates of Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression in mothers.

Breast-feeding also helps families save money on formula, help the mother bond with the child and moms are shown to miss less work if they nurse.

"Also, breastfeeding lowers health care costs," Frieden says. "Researchers have calculated that $2.2 billion in yearly medical costs could be saved if breastfeeding recommendations were met. It is critical that we continue working to improve hospital, community and workplace support for breastfeeding mothers and babies and realize these cost savings," he added.

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