Skip to main content
Intellect

New breastfeeding study shows most moms quit early

Breastfeeding rates lowest in areas where need is greatest

While the CDC recently reported that more moms than ever give breastfeeding a try, a new national study shows most moms do not stick with it as long as they should.

Although 77 percent of moms nationally start to breastfeed, the new Brigham Young University study found that only 36 percent of babies are breastfed through six months, well short of the federal government’s goal to hit 50 percent by 2010. The American Association of Pediatricians recommends continued breastfeeding through the first year.

“Breastfeeding promotion programs encourage women to start but don’t provide the support to continue,” said Renata Forste, an author of the study to be published in the August issue of the Journal of Human Lactation.

Breast milk is considered healthiest for babies because it is easily digested and provides antibodies that prevent ear infections and other illnesses. Earlier work by Forste supports research highlighting the link between breastfeeding and infant survival.

Many personal characteristics, such as a mother’s age and education level, influence whether a baby is breastfed. Surprisingly, the new study found that where babies live also plays a role.

“We are finding that breastfeeding rates aren’t just explained by the individuals who live in these areas, there’s something about the areas themselves and breastfeeding,” said BYU co-author John Hoffmann.

The researchers arrived at this finding by matching moms’ survey responses to state and metropolitan data on infant health. Unfortunately, breastfeeding rates are lowest in areas where babies’ health is considered most at risk. In the Baltimore and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, which rank low on infant health scores, only 30 percent of babies are breastfed six months or more.

“Where the need is greatest, breastfeeding happens the least,” Forste said. “It’s a sad irony both in terms of health needs and the expense these families incur buying formula.”

Hoffmann said the research suggests future efforts to increase breastfeeding rates could target specific communities and not just individual mothers.

Forste and Hoffmann teach and research in BYU’s sociology department, where Forste serves as department chair.

Writer: Angela Fischer

Baby.jpg
Photo by Colleen Harker

Related Articles

data-content-type="article"

I love to see the (Lego) temple...

June 12, 2024
In the HBLL's Special Collections exhibit area there is a Lego exhibition with a uniquely gospel tie. From Lego recreations of paintings of the Savior to model replicas of iconic LDS temples, “Brick upon Brick: Creativity in the Making” is an exhibit like no other.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"

Meet the BYU student helping the Texas Rangers save runs and win big

June 11, 2024
Melville's equations pinpointed opportunities for the team, suggesting slight adjustments that would position the outfielders to make crucial plays. By his analysis, these changes could prevent 22.5 more runs compared to the MLB average – a calculated risk that was well worth taking, especially as the pennant race heated up.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"

Your internet-connected home devices could be compromising your security. BYU computer engineers have a solution

May 29, 2024
It seems like just about every new household device connects to the internet these days. Thermostat? Check. Doorbell? Yup. Washer and Dryer? In 2024, of course. Even pet feeders connect to WiFi now to be controlled by an app. But all is not well because many of these devices can pose security risks to home networks.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=