Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An all-time high for black breastfeeding!

I was feeling really depressed last week about the rates at which black women breastfeed. I posted an informal poll on a gossip site for sistas that I frequent, wanting to know how many had breastfed their babies. It was abysmal! Besides me, only one other woman had breastfed. When I asked the women why they chose to use formula, I heard, "I am a picky eater so I decided not to breastfeed"; "I was stressed out when I had my baby and my doctor told me it wasn't good to breastfeed if you're stressed out"; and "I don't breastfeed because formula has DHA & ARA in it now so it's the same thing." Oh, Lawd! The last excuse we've all heard before. Lots of people believe that formula is "just as good" as breast milk even though it has been proven again and again to be an inferior infant food. So needless to say I was thrilled when I came across this article today on Yahoo! news. According to the CDC, breastfeeding rates are at an all-time high, with about 77% percent of moms breastfeeding at least briefly. I know a lot of women only breastfeed for 6 weeks or so, but some breastmilk is better than none! I am thrilled that so many babies are getting the food they deserve, at least for a little while.
The even better news? The percentage of black infants being breastfed has had the most dramatic spike, up to 65% from a shockingly low 36% in 1994. Historically we've always had the lowest rates, so this study gives me hope.

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