Monday, August 30, 2010

Meeting Governmental Goals

As of Wednesday, my daughter will be among the scant 13% of children to be exclusively breastfed through the first 6 months of life.

And even as I say that, I feel compelled to disclose that there was about a week long period in her 2nd week of life when she received some formula supplementation due to severe jaundice (as prescribed and monitored by a Lactation Consultant, if that makes it any better). And she will have received exactly 18.5 ounces of generously donated milk from another mother - so take from that what you will.

The CDC's goals for breastfeeding in the US, by this year, were as follows:

Health People 2010 Objectives # of States Meeting Objective,
children born 2007
75% of mothers initiating breastfeeding 25
50% of mothers breastfeeding their infant at 6 months of age 14
25% of mothers breastfeeding their infant at 12 months of age 15
40% of mothers exclusively breastfeeding their infant through 3 months of age 17
17% of mothers exclusively breastfeeding their infant through 6 months of age 15

I wonder why we don't aim higher?

And the saddest data points of all: the lowest rates of breastfeeding continue to be among the poorest Americans - aka, the people LEAST able to afford expensive formula substitutes.  Why is this?  It's easy to imagine, of course, the immense practical barriers to breastfeeding - the lowest earners are less likely to have jobs at which they can pump, less likely to be able to take much maternity leave at all, etc.

If you look at the maps available through the above links you have to wonder what's wrong with the deep south, but then again, cross-tab that with the high percentage of impoverished and impoverished and non-impoverished blacks and you can draw some safe conclusions. 

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