It is widely known that breastfeeding is the best source of food for babies. It provides many health benefits to both mother and baby that last years after breastfeeding stops.
Unfortunately in the United States, women do not breastfeed as much and for as long as other women around the world, and for the duration recommended by leading health organizations.
Some statistics I found from the CDC: As of 2006 (the most current I could find)
- The percentage of babies exclusively breastfed through 3 months is about 33% and through 6 months is about 13%.
- The percentage of babies supplemented with formula before 2 days about 25%, before 3 months about 38% and before 6 months about 48%
- Overall- 74% of mothers initiated breastfeeding at birth, 43% were breastfeeding at 6 months (some with supplementation) and 23% were still breastfeeding at 12 months (some with supplementation)
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding a year or longer. They also advise for induced lactation for adoptive mothers, support at work for lactating mothers and more! (Click here to read the official statement)
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding for 2 years or more. (Click here for the official statement)
According to the CDC, the rate of breastfeeding in the United States has been increasing over the last several years. Let's hope that trend continues because the more moms who nurse- the more support and assistance there is for everyone!