Surgeon general: Ease obstacles to breast-feeding
Thursday, January 20, 2022 12:37 AM

Related Stories



(Source: Associated Press/AP Online)By LAURAN NEERGAARD

WASHINGTON - How long a new mom breast-feeds can boil down to hassles at work, whether her doctor ever stressed how super-healthy it is, even whether Grandma approves.

The surgeon general is issuing a call Thursday to eliminate obstacles to breast-feeding - and working moms may see the first steps: The new health care law requires that many employers start offering "reasonable" break times to pump milk and a private place to do it. No, the company bathroom no longer counts.

Breast-feeding benefits both baby and mother but it isn't always easy. Three-quarters of U.S. mothers say they breast-feed during their baby's first days and weeks. But within six months, that drops to 43 percent who are breast-feeding at least sometimes and just 13 percent who follow recommendations that babies receive only breast milk during that first half-year of life.

"The hardest thing is to keep it up, because our society and our culture aren't there to support them," said Surgeon General Regina Benjamin. "They really shouldn't have to go it alone."

Research has long made clear the benefits of breast-feeding. Breast-fed babies suffer fewer illnesses such as diarrhea, earaches and pneumonia, because breast milk contains antibodies that help fend off infections. They're also less likely to develop asthma, or even to become fat later in childhood. Nursing mothers shed pregnancy pounds faster, and if they breast-feed long enough can decrease their risk of breast or ovarian cancer.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says breast milk alone provides optimal nutrition for babies for about the first six months, the time when most babies begin solid foods, and that breast-feeding should continue to age 1.

By 2020, the government hopes to have 82 percent of women start breast-feeding and raise to about a quarter those whose babies are exclusively breast-fed for about six months. Today, those rates are lowest for black babies, with 58 percent starting out breast-fed and 8 percent exclusively breast-fed for six months.

Mothers who cannot or choose not to breast-feed shouldn't be made to feel guilty, Benjamin said.

But for those who want to, her office took a closer look at the obstacles and found plenty.

Women whose own mothers and grandmothers didn't breast-feed lack support and even may face skepticism, said Benjamin. She urged education of family members, including dad, during prenatal visits - and noted that breast-feeding can save up to $1,500 in infant formula in the first year of life.

Doctors and hospitals should stress the benefits of breast-feeding, before and at delivery. Certified lactation consultants can help ensure women get help with such issues as how the baby latches on and how to ease breast discomfort, she said.

But a big focus is on employers, to make sure moms have the time and privacy to pump milk when they return to work.

"It makes economic sense for the company," Benjamin stressed. "Women miss less time at work when the babies are healthy, and there's retention of their good employees."

That's why AOL Inc. created what it calls "mothers' rooms" in its offices in 15 cities around the country. They're quiet nursing spots that come equipped with two different kinds of breast pumps so moms don't have to haul as much gear, and part of a broader program that also includes access to lactation consultants that serves about 100 families a year.

The investment paid off, said vice president Gillian Pon: Since 2003, the company has seen a jump in employee breast-feeding and a drop in health claims for sick newborns.

---

Online:

http://www.surgeongeneral.gov

---

Online:

http://www.surgeongeneral.gov

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

 

Sponsors

Symbol :

Advertisement

Market news:

  • Federer through to fourth round at Australian Open Jan 21, 2022 01:37 AM

    • MELBOURNE, Australia - Roger Federer was back to his vintage best, beating Xavier Malisse 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in a third-round match Friday at the Australian Open.
    • While the defending champion also won in straight sets in his opening-round match against Lukas Lacko, Federer was extended to five tough sets against Gilles Simon in the second round, a near five-hour match which Federer said he was he relieved to survive.
    • On Friday at Rod Laver Arena, there were no such dramas for the second-seeded Swiss star who chasing his fifth Australian title.
      • On JFK 50th, Kennedy family gathers in Washington Jan 21, 2022 01:32 AM

        • WASHINGTON - Fifty years ago Thursday, President John F. Kennedy told the world that "the torch had been passed to a new generation of Americans" whom he challenged to "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
        • Caroline Kennedy told The Associated Press that she has been thinking over her father's oft-quoted inaugural speech on Jan 20, 1961, when he proclaimed that Americans "shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
        • "I think he really expanded and redefined our idea of what it means to be a citizen - that everybody has something to contribute and everybody has something to give back to this country that's given us so much," Caroline Kennedy said.
          • Charles Manson follower Krenwinkel denied parole Jan 21, 2022 01:14 AM

            • CORONA, Calif. - In a decision suggesting that the brutal Sharon Tate murders are unforgivable, a parole board panel on Thursday refused to consider releasing Patricia Krenwinkel, who told the board she killed for the love of Charles Manson.
            • The two-member panel made clear it was the horror of the killings, among the most notorious of the 20th century, that led them to reject the bid for parole in spite of Krenwinkel's efforts to change her life.
            • They said the atrocious murders of seven people had affected the entire world - evidenced by letters which came in from around the globe urging that she be kept behind bars - and said Krenwinkel failed to understand that.
              • Google turns Page on Schmidt, names co-founder CEO Jan 21, 2022 01:05 AM

                • SAN FRANCISCO - When Google Inc. went public in 2004, the three men running the company promised each other they would remain a ruling triumvirate for at least 20 more years.
                • Although their commitment to work together until 2024 hasn't changed, Google CEO Eric Schmidt and company co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are being reassigned in an attempt to recapture the free-wheeling spirit of the company's youth.
                • The surprise shake-up announced late Thursday will return Page, 37, to the CEO job he filled in Google's early days.
                  • GE's Immelt to head Obama economic advisory board Jan 21, 2022 12:23 AM

                    • WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is restructuring his economic advisory board to place an emphasis on job creation, and he is naming General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt as its new head.
                    • The new board, called the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, will replace the former Economic Recovery Advisory Board that had been chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.
                    • The change signals Obama's intention to shift from policies that were designed to stabilize the economy after the 2008 financial meltdown to a renewed focus on increasing employment, a vexing task that could affect his re-election prospects.

                      More news


Advertisement

    Recent Estimates

AnalystFirm NameSymbolEPS Estimate
XXXXXXXXXX LVS$0.38
ASAS BAC$0.16
danPersonal BAC$0.16
samXXXXX JCI$0.54
brobbrinc INTC$0.53
brobbrinc RIMM$1.64
XXXXXXXXXX CWEI$1.27
XXXXXXXXXX RDWR$0.22
XXXXXXXXXX NR$0.09
XXXXXXXXXX BAC$0.16