Breastfeeding disparities are not new. In fact, a generation back, most women in America did notbreastfeed. It was not the “thing to do.” In fact, many women were told it was better to bottle feed a baby formula…something we now know it untrue.
Now, as more and more women are learning the benefits of breastfeeding, more moms are once again choosing to breastfeed their babies.
However, there are still some rather large differences between women who nurse and those who choose not to.
Here is What the Latest Research Shows:
Disparities by education:
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Significant improvements in breastfeeding rates have occurred over the last decade among women with at least some college education. College graduates were much more likely than women with less education to breastfeed their babies. In fact, almost all breastfeeding studies show that educational attainment was the strongest predictor of a woman’s choice to breastfeed.
Even if researchers took into account the differences in income and other factors that my affect breastfeeding rates, they find that a women’s education played the most important role in the likelihood that she will breastfeed her children.
Disparities between income groups:
Women in the highest income groups appear to be the most likely to breastfeed their babies. These breastfeeding mothers were significantly more likely to breastfeed than were women in the lower income groups. However, the income disparities in breastfeeding rates seem to be explained mostly by differences in education.
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Although significant efforts have been made to try to close the gaps between Whites and both African Americans and U.S.-born Latinas who breastfeed…the gaps actually appear to be widening over the last ten years.
African American women and US-born Latina women are less likely than White women to choose to breastfeed.
However, when other factors were considered, the racial disparities in breastfeeding remained significant but appear to be explained (at least in part) by differences in education and income.
The scariest part of these statistics is that we could SAVE LIVES of so many babies who die of illnesses that could have been prevented if their mothers would have exclusively breastfed their babies for the first few months of life.
What a shame…we need to educate moms so that they know these things!
How Can We Improve This?
Information. Support. Encouragement.
Breastfeeding Magazine will try to help with the information.
We hope that all the breastfeeding moms out there will do their part and help to encourage and support other new mothers. Let them know what a precious gift breastfeeding can be to both moms and also to their children.
Only then will we see these statistics and breastfeeding disparities change.
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