The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 74 percent of American women who gave birth in 2004 breast-fed their babies for at least some period of time, continuing an upward trend since the early 1990s.
Breast-feeding rates just about reached the government's target of 75 percent, the report showed. But many women did not stick exclusively to breast-feeding in the first months after birth as recommended by experts, turning instead to baby formula, the report showed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women who do not have health problems exclusively breast-feed their infants for at least the first six months, with breast-feeding continuing at least through the first year as other foods are introduced. The CDC backs these recommendations, Philip said.
The CDC report found that among infants born in 2004, the rate of exclusive breast-feeding through the first three months after birth was 31 percent, shy of the government's goal of 60 percent, and through six months was 11 percent, below the government target of 25 percent.
Bonnie - I agree. This is progress, but we still have a long way to go. More new mothers would breastfeed if lactation consulting was readily available (and the cost covered by their health insurance policy) for the first two months post partum. It is also important to make it more acceptable and less stressful for mothers to breastfeed in public. They shouldn't have to hide in a bathroom!
Additionally, there are too many mothers quitting before they are supposed to. The CDC suggest six months minimum for breastfeeding (I say one year minimum). The percentage of women who switch to bottle feeding before six months is still way too high.