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HHS HealthBeat (February 24, 2011)

Staying with breastfeeding

Toddler breastfeeding
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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Breastfeeding has health benefits for both mother and baby. But mothers who want to breastfeed often encounter a lot of obstacles at home and at work. So Surgeon General Regina Benjamin has issued a call to action to help remove those barriers.

She notes the drop-off rate:

``While 75 percent of American mothers start out breastfeeding, only 13 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed at the end of six months.’’ (7 seconds)

Benjamin says everyone can help make it easier to breastfeed. For instance, she says, employers could set aside areas where women could breastfeed or pump.

The surgeon general says breastfed babies are less likely to have conditions such as diarrhea and ear infections. And she says mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of breast cancer.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: May 7, 2011