Kara Ghiringhelli, Department of Public Health
Kara is a Nutrition Education Specialist at DPH.
If you are an avid news watcher like I am, it was hard to miss last week’s media coverage of breastfeeding. This most recent media blitz on breastfeeding is due to a new study on breastfeeding published in the Journal of Pediatrics. This study confirms what we’ve always known—that breastfeeding is not only healthier, but can save money in healthcare costs. In fact, this study states that if 90% of new moms were to breastfeed their babies for the first 6 months of life, 900 lives could be saved, several costly illnesses may be prevented, and as a result about $13.1 billion dollars in healthcare and other costs each year would go unspent.
With all the benefits of breastfeeding—both from a health and a financial standpoint—it’s enough to make me wonder why more moms out there are not exclusively breastfeeding their babies. I have a feeling that it’s not that moms don’t want to breastfeed. We know that most moms do try to breastfeed their babies—74% of moms initiate or at least try to breastfeed their babies, according to this study. But the number of moms who continue to breastfeed drops down dramatically soon after birth. By 3 months of age, only 33% of infants are exclusively breastfeeding, or receiving no formula, and by 6 months of age, only 14% of infants are exclusively breastfed.
I think that this dramatic shift between birth and 6 months of age has a lot do with the lack of support out there for breastfeeding mothers and our society not viewing breastfeeding as the ‘normal’ method for feeding babies. If moms are trying to breastfeed their babies when they are born, it’s obvious that there isn’t a lack of knowledge on mom’s part. So what is happening to these moms if they feel the need to supplement with formula? What needs to change in order for moms to continue to breastfeed their babies?
Please share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!
Share on Facebook.
Weekly Flu Report, October 31, 2014 posted on Oct 31
Welcome to the “Flu Facts” section of the Department of Public Health blog. Every week from now until the end of flu season, you’ll see the latest weekly data on the impact of influenza in Massachusetts. The weekly report is designed to provide a snapshot …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, October 31, 2014
Just 5 Minutes in the Morning for a Smoother Day posted on Oct 27
Perhaps your morning routine goes something like this: Jolt awake with a beeping alarm, brush your teeth, take a shower, eat breakfast, feed the cat, and rush out the door to make your train and get to work on time. This is quite a stressful …Continue Reading Just 5 Minutes in the Morning for a Smoother Day
Sweet and Healthy Halloween Ideas! posted on Oct 27
Halloween is just around the corner. Are you ready?? As a parent, it’s hard not to think of candy this time of year, and your kids are probably eager to go trick or treating, or to welcome boys and ghouls (sorry) to your house. But …Continue Reading Sweet and Healthy Halloween Ideas!