By MIKE STOBBE – 4 hours ago
ATLANTA (AP) — More than 3 out of 4 new moms now breast-feed their infants, the highest rate in the U.S. in at least 20 years, according to a a government report released Wednesday. About 77 percent of new mothers breast-feed, at least briefly, up from 60 percent in 1993-1994, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
"It looks like it is an all-time high" based on CDC surveys since the mid-1980s, said Jeff Lancashire, a CDC spokesman.
Experts attributed the rise to education campaigns that emphasize that breast milk is better than formula at protecting babies against disease and childhood obesity. A changing culture that accommodates nursing mothers may also be a factor.
The percentage of black infants who were breast-fed rose most dramatically, to 65 percent. Only 36 percent were ever breast-fed in 1993-1994, the new study found.
For whites, the figure rose to 79 percent, from 62 percent. For Mexican-Americans, it increased to 80 percent, from 67 percent.
Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher celebrated the report's findings, noting that black women have historically had lower breast-feeding rates.
"It was very impressive that when it comes to beginning to breast-feed, African-American women have had the greatest progress," said Satcher, who is now an administrator at Atlanta's Morehouse School of Medicine.
The new report is based on a comprehensive federal survey involving in-person interviews as well as physical examinations. The findings are based on information for 434 infants from the years 2005 and 2006.
A telephone survey of thousands of families, released last year, found that 74 percent of infants in 2004 had been breast-fed.
At least three types of CDC surveys have shown breast-feeding rates moving upward since the early 1990s, officials said.
The latest CDC report found rates of breast-feeding were also lowest among women who are unmarried, poor, rural, younger than 20, and have a high school education or less.
On the Net:
CDC report: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs
Good news for a change! Not to be a buzz kill or anything, but the change is probably due to social reasons. It's what people now do in society. Another example of how powerful culture (and the support that comes with it) affects the choices we make for our children.