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HHS HealthBeat (October 12, 2012)

Better at breastfeeding

A mother breastfeeds her child.
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The benefits of breastfeeding

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Breastfeeding is healthier than formula for mother and baby, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more mothers are breastfeeding. Lawrence Grummer-Strawn tells what’s in the agency’s latest breastfeeding report card:

“We saw the largest annual increase that we’ve seen in the last decade in initiation of breastfeeding, and also saw large increases in breastfeeding at 6 months and at 12 months.”

The report card says that, in 2009, 77 percent of mothers of newborns started breastfeeding.

Babies who don’t breastfeed are more likely to become obese, or to develop diabetes, respiratory or ear infections, or sudden infant death syndrome, also called SIDS.

Grummer-Strawn also says hospitals have become better at encouraging breastfeeding. But he says there’s still work to do.

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Last revised: October 11, 2012