The Surgeon General Asks Americans To Support Breastfeeding In A Call To Action.

Last week, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin issued The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. In her Call to...
Last week, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin issued The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. In her Call to Action, the surgeon general includes ways to lower or removed "barriers" for moms who want to breastfeed their babies. The release included a fact sheet listing breastfeeding statistics, the benefits of breastfeeding (related to both health and economics), obstacles to breastfeeding and what different members of the community can do to support breastfeeding moms. Of note:
  • 75% of moms start out breastfeeding, but at the end of six months, only 43% are still breastfeeding and only 13% are breastfeeding exclusively
  • Health benefits: Protection from infection and illnesses, reduced rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and less chance of becoming obese
  • Economic benefits: Families can save $1,200 - $1,500 during the first year of a baby's life if they choose to breastfeed
  • Obstacles: Lack of family support, lack of connections with other breastfeeding moms, lack of help from health care providers, lack of workplace accommodations for pumping, hospital practices that make it difficult to begin breastfeeding immediately
The Surgeon General stated the following in a press release:
“Many barriers exist for mothers who want to breastfeed,” Dr. Benjamin said. “They shouldn’t have to go it alone. Whether you’re a clinician, a family member, a friend, or an employer, you can play an important part in helping mothers who want to breastfeed.” “Of course, the decision to breastfeed is a personal one,” she added, “no mother should be made to feel guilty if she cannot or chooses not to breastfeed.”
The Executive Summary includes actions that different groups can take to support breastfeeding women. There are many for each group, so take a look. If you'd like to learn more, you can read the full Call to Action or you can visit the Surgeon General's website to view all of the related materials.

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