Breastfeeding Rates for Marin – According to a recent report by the California WIC Association and the UC Davis Human Lactation Center, Marin County ranked 5th in the state for “in-hospital breastfeeding rates.” For data collected in 2009, exclusive breastfeeding (mother’s milk only) was reported by 79.5 percent of new mothers; any breastfeeding (exclusive or mother’s milk and formula) was reported by 98.3 percent.
While these are fairly good results, they could be better; very few mothers or babies have a medical reason not to breastfeed. And unfortunately, the numbers drop as mothers leave the hospital, become more mobile and return to work. Friends, family and employers should support new mothers to feed their infants as pediatricians recommend: exclusive breastfeeding for six months, and continued feeding of mother’s milk for at least a year as solid foods are introduced.
A few weeks ago, the Marin County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution declaring August as “Breastfeeding Awareness Month” in Marin County. This coincides with international efforts to recognize the benefits of breastfeeding and to promote efforts to support it throughout our community.
The Marin Breastfeeding Coalition applauds our county supervisors for supporting efforts to broaden outreach “beyond traditional breastfeeding supporters” and to “empower women in Marin to succeed at breastfeeding.” We also encourage local hospitals to seek official designation as “baby-friendly” hospitals.
Research shows that babies who are fed formula have higher risks of obesity, diabetes, respiratory and ear infections, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). They tend to require more doctor visits, hospitalizations and prescriptions. And low rates of breastfeeding add an estimated $2.2 billion a year to medical costs in the United Sates.
As we like to say, mother’s milk is fresh, local and sustainable. It’s also the healthiest and most natural way to feed a baby.
Content Provided by Alex Porrata, Marin Breastfeeding Coalition Coordinator