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Exclusive Breastfeeding A Challenge For Many Women

Aired 2/29/12 on KPBS News.

A new report reveals despite the health benefits of breastfeeding newborn babies, many women don't do it exclusively.

— Nine out of 10 California mothers say they want to exclusively breast feed their newborns. But a new report shows that's not happening.

The California Women, Infants and Children Association released the report. It breaks down by county and by hospital the percentage of new mothers who exclusively breast feed their babies.

Countywide, about seven out 10 new moms rely on breast milk alone. But In some hospitals, less than half do.

Dr. Nancy Wight is medical director of Sharp Healthcare lactation services. Wight said there a number of things that influence breast feeding rates, including whether hospitals readily dispense formula to new moms. But she said cultural factors also loom large.

"I think basically people are in such a bottle feeding culture, both in the hospitals and outside in the general population, that they just don't trust the normal processes of breast feeding," Wright said.

She pointed out the vast majority of babies will do just fine on breast milk alone for the first six months.

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Avatar for user 'Rexasaurus'

Rexasaurus | March 1, 2012 at 10:32 a.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

Maternity leave in this country is a joke. 6-12 WEEKS is all we usually get. 6 to 12 weeks of exclusive breastfeeding is a far cry from the recommended 6 months. Many mothers are having to return to work in order to stay afloat financially and when mom goes to work, in come the bottles and pumps and formula being pushed as an easier option.

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