About half of U.S. mothers breastfeed for six months

July 31, 2013 at 10:04 PM
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ATLANTA, July 31 (UPI) -- Almost half of U.S. moms in 2010 breastfed their babies for six months, up from 35 percent in 2000, a U.S. health official said.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said the percent of babies breastfeeding at 12 months also increased from 16 percent to 27 percent during that same time period. The data also showed babies who started breastfeeding increased from 71 percent in 2000 to 77 percent in 2010.

"This is great news for the health of our nation because babies who are breastfed have lower risks of ear and gastrointestinal infections, diabetes and obesity, while mothers who breastfeed have lower risks of breast and ovarian cancers," Frieden said in a statement.

"Also, breastfeeding lowers healthcare costs. Researchers have calculated that $2.2 billion in yearly medical costs could be saved if breastfeeding recommendations were met. It is critical that we continue working to improve hospital, community and workplace support for breastfeeding mothers and babies and realize these cost savings."

The CDC also found hospitals reporting newborn babies that stay in the room with their mother at least 23 hours per day increased from about 30 percent in 2007 to 37 percent in 2011.

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