Op-Ed: Better Starts for Breastfeeding
August 23, 2012
August is National Breastfeeding Month, and NICHQ leaders have joined the national conversation about this important health issue. An op-ed written by NICHQ's Karthi Streb (Director of Programs) and Marianne McPherson (Director of Applied Research and Evaluation) was published in the 8/23/2012 issue of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
From the article:
Breastfeeding provides many well-documented health benefits for the child and the mother. For infants, it decreases the incidence and severity of many infectious diseases, helps in neurodevelopment, and reduces mortality. It also decreases an infant’s risk of becoming obese later in childhood. For moms, breastfeeding decreases the risk of ovarian and breast cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Given these benefits and recommendations, the statistics are surprising: Half of U.S.-born babies receive formula within their first week. One in four babies has never had breast milk. At nine months, less than one-third is breastfeeding at all. Why the disconnect between science and practice?
As mothers who have chosen to breastfeed our infants in the past year while returning to work, and as professionals working for an organization leading a national initiative that aims to increase breastfeeding rates, we believe we offer a unique perspective on this question.
We invite you to read the full op-ed here.