Tuesday’s report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed a startling fact; U.S. hospitals are doing little to encourage new mothers to choose breastfeeding over formula.
The study shows that less than 4% of hospitals are encouraging breastfeeding to patients. This includes not providing services to teach mothers how to breastfeed properly while in the hospital and at home.
In fact, more than 80% of hospitals and other birthing facilities regularly give formula to new parents even when it is not medically necessary. This, combined with hospitals giving away bottles and formula to new parents, decreases the chances that breastfeeding attempts will be successful at home.
This is especially surprising since the benefits of breastfeeding are well documented. Babies that are breastfed have a lower chance of childhood obesity and a stronger immune system. Mothers gain benefits as well, including a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers. The report claims that hospitals need to do more to illustrate these benefits to new mothers.
The CDC’s new report arrives just a day after new federal guidelines regarding breastfeeding support were detailed. These guidelines require insurance companies to encourage breastfeeding by offering lactation supplies and services to mothers.