Post Content

Kara Ghiringhelli,Posted by:
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.

Written By:

Recent Posts

Weekly Flu Report, December 2, 2016 posted on Dec 2

The latest weekly flu report shows that rates of flu-like illness rose slightly in the past seven days in Massachusetts. Still, it’s safe to say that flu season has yet to really kick in – which means there is still time to protect yourself and your family   …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, December 2, 2016

Keeping the Balance During the Holiday Season! posted on Nov 29

Keeping the Balance During the Holiday Season!

By Tracey Munson and Meaghan Sutherland The holiday season is on our doorstep, accompanied by an endless supply of gravy, fudge, gingerbread, and figgy pudding (okay, maybe not that last one).  While enjoying some of these foods is something we look forward to every year,   …Continue Reading Keeping the Balance During the Holiday Season!

Protecting the Health of Home Care Aides posted on Nov 28

Protecting the Health of Home Care Aides

Do you or someone you love use the services of a home care aide?  Nearly 50,000 people—mostly women—work in this growing occupation in Massachusetts.  You may be surprised to learn that recent data show that home care aides are twice as likely to have asthma   …Continue Reading Protecting the Health of Home Care Aides