Surgeon General: Help make breastfeeding easier for moms
January 20th, 2011
10:36 AM ET

Surgeon General: Help make breastfeeding easier for moms

Breastfeeding seems to be the most natural thing in the world and is recommended as the optimal form of nutrition for newborns, yet many moms find it difficult to do for a variety of reasons.  This is why the Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin is launching a “Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding.”

Dr. Regina Benjamin talks with CNN's Kiran Chetry about the call for breastfeeding support

Benjamin says the number of women breastfeeding in the United States is low compared with other countries, and “we'd like to change that.” Her plan identifies 20 different things families, employers, health care professionals and communities can do “to help encourage women to breastfeed and give them the support they need.”

According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year, 75% of new moms initiate breastfeeding. At 3 months only 33% of moms are only feeding their infants breast milk and at 6 months only 13% are still exclusively breastfeeding their babies.  Benjamin points out that the numbers for African-American women are even lower – 22% at 3 months and only 8% are still exclusively breastfeeding by the time their little one is 6 months old.

The World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding for first 6 months because it benefits babies and mothers.  Breast milk contains antibodies, which can protect babies from ear infections, digestive problems, and severe lung infections.  Studies also suggest it protect babies against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diabetes, obesity and asthma. Moms also benefit, according to a report issued by Benjamin’s predecessor,  former acting Surgeon General Dr. Steven Galson,  which says breastfeeding benefits for moms include “reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, as well as breast and ovarian cancers.”

Benjamin says “something happens between when they [moms] start breastfeeding and 6 months,” and she is trying to help change this.

She recognizes that some women are simply unable to breastfeed because the babies are not latching on and she is not trying to make them feel bad for not doing so.  She suggests that while these moms may not be able to directly feed their babies, encouraging them to express their breast milk and then giving it to the baby in the bottle is another way for the infant to get mom's nutrient-filled and protective milk.

Any woman who has breastfed can attest to it being a learned skill that requires patience.  Both mom and baby have to learn how to do this and if you first do not succeed, encouragement from family and instruction from a lactation expert can prevent a mother from giving up.  According to the CDC, 1 in 4 breastfed babies also is getting formula within 2 days of birth.

Benjamin’s plan calls for developing programs to educate spouses and grandparents about the benefits of breastfeeding, but also for support groups within communities and for hospitals and health care professionals to provide support and help for moms when they leave the hospital.

Having access to prenatal care and instruction on how to breastfeed before the baby is born can help moms prepare for what’s ahead. But for many women who want to breastfeed, the support to do so is often lacking, particularly when they return to work.

According to the “Call to Action,” half of all mothers with children under age 1 were working in 2009 and more than two-thirds were employed full time.

While they’re at work, moms need to pump their breast milk, so their infants can be bottle-fed mom’s milk while they’re away.  However, if mom can’t take a break to pump, or there isn’t a private place for her to set-up to pump, she may feel as if  she doesn't have much of a choice but to discontinue breastfeeding.  Benjamin says women working in low-income jobs have a  particularly difficult time pumping at work.

Over the next 6 months to a year, Benjamin says she wants to have a constant conversation and raise awareness about helping women breastfeed. “We want to get them [businesses] to understand that there are some economic benefits – it helps to retain good employees. Companies who have lactation programs or breastfeeding programs tend to keep their employees longer.”

soundoff (757 Responses)
  1. RV Repair Places Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Repair San Clemente California


    June 15, 2021 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Repair Mission Viejo


    June 15, 2021 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Repair Shop Near My Location


    June 15, 2021 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Repair Places Near Me

    Itís difficult to find knowledgeable people for this topic, however, you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 15, 2021 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Nearby RV Repair

    That is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise informationÖ Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!


    June 15, 2021 at 18:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Repair Shops Nearby

    Everything is very open with a precise explanation of the issues. It was truly informative. Your website is very helpful. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 15, 2021 at 21:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Repairs Near Me

    I was very pleased to find this web site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site.


    June 15, 2021 at 21:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair California

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't disappoint me as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, however I genuinely thought you'd have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something that you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy searching for attention.


    June 16, 2021 at 05:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Repair Shops Near My Location


    June 16, 2021 at 05:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Repair Orange County

    After looking at a handful of the blog posts on your website, I honestly like your technique of blogging. I book-marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my website too and let me know what you think.


    June 16, 2021 at 06:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Repair Around Me


    June 16, 2021 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. chinese buffet near me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and also the rest of the site is very good.


    June 16, 2021 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. protests near me

    You've made some good points there. I checked on the web for more information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.


    June 16, 2021 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. bike trails near me

    May I simply just say what a relief to discover someone who truly understands what they are discussing over the internet. You definitely realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people really need to check this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you aren't more popular since you surely possess the gift.


    June 16, 2021 at 16:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. power outage near me

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely believe this web site needs a lot more attention. Iíll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the information!


    June 16, 2021 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. rv sales near me

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be interesting to read content from other writers and use a little something from their websites.


    June 16, 2021 at 21:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Nearby RV Repair

    After looking into a few of the blog posts on your blog, I really like your technique of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site as well and tell me what you think.


    June 16, 2021 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Repair San Clemente California

    Can I simply just say what a relief to uncover somebody that truly knows what they are talking about on the internet. You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people ought to check this out and understand this side of your story. I can't believe you're not more popular given that you surely possess the gift.


    June 16, 2021 at 22:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Nearby RV Repair


    June 17, 2021 at 00:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Repair Near Me

    May I just say what a relief to uncover someone who really understands what they are discussing over the internet. You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people should read this and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you're not more popular given that you definitely possess the gift.


    June 17, 2021 at 03:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Camper Repair Shop Near Me


    June 17, 2021 at 05:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. dodge dealership near me

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site. I really hope to view the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own blog now 😉


    June 17, 2021 at 11:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Repair Near Me

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be helpful to read through content from other writers and practice a little something from their web sites.


    June 17, 2021 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. dog groomer near me


    June 17, 2021 at 20:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. chiropractor near me

    bookmarked!!, I really like your site!


    June 17, 2021 at 21:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. pawn shop near me


    June 17, 2021 at 22:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. ford dealerships near me

    Hi, I do believe this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may come back once again since i have saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.


    June 17, 2021 at 23:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. contractors near me


    June 18, 2021 at 03:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. painters near me


    June 18, 2021 at 04:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. batteries plus near me

    Very good post! We will be linking to this particularly great content on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    June 18, 2021 at 05:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. toyota dealership near me

    I'm more than happy to find this site. I want to to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely savored every bit of it and I have you book-marked to check out new things in your site.


    June 18, 2021 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. tanning near me

    I really like looking through an article that can make men and women think. Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!


    June 18, 2021 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. ups drop box near me

    Good day! I just wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for the great information you have got here on this post. I'll be returning to your web site for more soon.


    June 18, 2021 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa

    Hello there! This post could not be written much better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I'll send this post to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!


    June 18, 2021 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. remodeling bathroom showers


    June 18, 2021 at 14:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Repairs Near My Location

    Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a great articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I hesitate a whole lot and don't seem to get anything done.


    June 18, 2021 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair California


    June 18, 2021 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Repair Santa Ana

    You need to be a part of a contest for one of the highest quality websites online. I will highly recommend this blog!


    June 18, 2021 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repairs Near My Location


    June 18, 2021 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Repair Huntington Beach

    This website really has all the information I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 18, 2021 at 20:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Repair Shop Near My Location

    There is definately a great deal to know about this subject. I love all of the points you made.


    June 18, 2021 at 21:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day. It will always be exciting to read articles from other authors and use something from their websites.


    June 18, 2021 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Repair Seal Beach

    I was more than happy to uncover this great site. I wanted to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely loved every part of it and i also have you bookmarked to see new things in your blog.


    June 19, 2021 at 01:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Repair Huntington Beach

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be exciting to read articles from other writers and practice something from their sites.


    June 19, 2021 at 05:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Sprinter Repair Near Me


    June 19, 2021 at 08:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Repair Shops Nearby

    Spot on with this write-up, I seriously feel this site needs much more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the advice!


    June 19, 2021 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. church's chicken near me

    After going over a number of the articles on your site, I seriously appreciate your way of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site as well and let me know your opinion.


    June 19, 2021 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Repair California


    June 19, 2021 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Repairs Near My Location

    I blog often and I genuinely thank you for your information. This article has really peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your website and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your RSS feed too.


    June 19, 2021 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Leave a Reply to Camper Repair Shop Near Me


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.