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.
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.
(image via: http://blessedmom.hubpages.com)