January 20, 2011

Surgeon General Calls For More Breastfeeding

On Thursday, American's chief doctor asked for Americans to support breastfeeding and outlined guidelines for mothers and communities to support the nature's most natural nutrition system.

Studies have shown numerous benefits for babies, mothers and overall healthcare when newborns are breastfed for the recommended minimum of six months.

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin issued a report on Thursday that advocates mothers to breastfeed their children.

"Many barriers exist for mothers who want to breastfeed," Benjamin said in a statement accompanying the report.

"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."

According to the report, breastfeeding develops immunity in babies and protects them from illnesses like diarrhea, ear infection and pneumonia.

Some studies have linked breastfeeding to higher IQs.

Some women find that with busy schedules, social stigma, and lack of know-how, consistent breastfeeding is difficult to manage, despite the reported benefits of breastfeeding.

Although 75 percent of babies start out being breastfed, just over 1 of 10 are breast-fed exclusively for six months.

The Surgeon General's call asks to combat those problems by expanding and improving community programs that provide support and peer counseling, which helps ensure employers and health care centers to provide similar support.

The American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed the surgeon general's campaign.

"The Call to Action provides a road map for creating a clear path for all mothers to breastfeed as long as they can and wish to do so," the children's healthcare organization said in a statement.


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