Exclusive breast-feeding may just be too hard, study says
Exclusively breast-feeding for at least the first six months of a baby’s life, as recommended by the World Health Organization and many governments, might be more of an idealistic goal than a realistic one, according to a small Scottish study out Wednesday.
As evidence of breast-feeding’s health benefits continues to grow, the rate of 6-month-old babies who’ve been exclusively breast-fed -- no other fluids or solids, not even water -- has increased in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 2011 rate was 14.8 percent, up 4 percentage points from the 2007 rate, the year the CDC issued its first breast-feeding “report card.” That’s still well below the 25.5 percent target in the government’s “Healthy People 2020” report.
Reaching that target may be more difficult than expected, however, because of both the expectations and reality surrounding nursing, according to the CDC’s 2011 report card -- and the research published in the journal BMJ Open.
“A woman’s ability to reach her breast-feeding goals is affected by a host of factors including support from her family, community, employer and health system,” according to the CDC.