The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a report stating that 80 percent of American hospitals supplement breastfeeding with formula when not medically necessary, which undermines recommendations from the American Academy and Pediatrics, the CDC, and the World Health Organization, all of which encourage that mothers exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of a baby's life.
Fewer than 4 percent of American hospitals offer new mothers adequate support services to encourage breastfeeding, the report stated. Many hospitals send mothers home with free samples of formula and bottles provided by formula makers, and many fail to maintain a lactation support staff to help mothers learn to breastfeed comfortably. From Boston.com:
The report comes a day after the announcement of new federal guidelines that mandates insurance companies provide free breast pumps and lactation support to nursing mothers after they leave the hospital.
Breast milk, which is rich in antibodies, helps reduce the risk of childhood ear infections and diarrhea and has been linked to a lower risk of childhood obesity -- possibly due to the nutritional content of the milk or the fact that breastfed infants are better able to self-regulate their intake compared with those fed from a bottle. Breastfeeding mothers enjoy a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
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