Breastfeeding rates still face significant challenges

Women’s Enews reported last week that women still struggle for their rights to breastfeed in various states. Many of the fights involve the rights to breastfeed in public and efforts to remove breastfeeding from indecent exposure laws and regulations. Even in states where breastfeeding is protected by the law, women are being penalized for doing so in public, being kicked out of restaurants and other public places.

Some responses to these legal challenges have included “nurse-ins,” where large groups of women gather to breastfeed in a public place (a spin off of the kiss-ins used by queer rights activists).

In addition to the challenges that breastfeeding mothers face, the CDC reports that while the number of women choosing to begin breastfeeding is up, the rates of women exclusively breastfeeding (no formula or other liquids) are still falling short of what is desired.

“The increase in mothers choosing to initiate breastfeeding is good news because it provides health benefits for women and decreases the risk of some early childhood diseases among infants,” said Dr. William H. Dietz, director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. “But it is still quite alarming that mothers and infants are not receiving the full health benefits most associated with exclusive breastfeeding.”

Check out my related blog on Feministing about research into baby formula that could prevent obesity.

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