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Half of American Moms Opt Out of Breast-Feeding

Study authors urge providers to reach out to younger and disadvantaged mothers

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Half of U.S. mothers studied during a two-year period either did not initiate breast-feeding or stopped breast-feeding within one month, according to study findings published in the December issue of Pediatrics.

Indu Ahluwalia, M.P.H., Ph.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues studied 2000 and 2001 data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System.

The researchers found that 32% of women in the study did not initiate breast-feeding and that they were more likely to be young, black, uneducated, WIC (supplemental nutrition program) participants, cigarette smokers or to have delivered a low-birth-weight infant.

Among those who did start breast-feeding, 4% stopped within one week and 13% stopped within one month. The reasons for cessation included sore nipples, inadequate milk supply, infant having difficulties and the perception that the infant was not satiated.

Fifty-one percent of women in the study continued breast-feeding for more than one month.

"Because many women in socially or economically disadvantaged situations may have fewer opportunities to learn about breast-feeding, it is crucial that prenatal care providers, hospital staff and programs such as WIC play a critical role in promoting and supporting breast-feeding and in reinforcing women's decision to breast-feed," the authors conclude.

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