Breastfeeding in the News

Feb 12, 2010 – reports that Michelle Obama breastfed her daughters, Malia and Sasha, and public health and maternal health advocates are hoping she will endorse breastfeeding as part of her anti-obesity campaign. Her movement to tackle childhood obesity may also advance the promotion of breastfeeding as a strategy to improve the country’s health. Laurence Grummer-Strawn, branch chief for CDC’s division of nutrition and physical activity, says that one of his staff will be working with Obama’s office on childhood obesity. He reports that the first lady’s office has been very open to adding breastfeeding to their campaign. In addition, US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin endorsed breastfeeding in workplaces, hospitals, and communities in her report on fighting obesity.
Feb 4, 2010 – reports on a study in the January issue of the journal Obesity which looked at 3,517 white women and 2,846 black women who were part of the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System from 2000 to 2005. Researchers found that 67.2% of white women initiated breastfeeding compared to 41.2% of black women. Among white women, breastfeeding was highest among those with normal weight and went down as their pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) rose. Among black women, BMI was not a factor in initiating breastfeeding. Regarding duration, obese white women averaged the shortest period of breastfeeding, while normal weight women had the longest. Among white women, the odds of breastfeeding at 10 weeks decreased as their BMIs increased.
Feb 4, 2010 – reports that a recent report entitled The Shrinking Costs of War released by Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, says breastfeeding in war-torn countries has contributed to a marked decline in infant mortality during armed conflict. Children under 5 are twice as likely as adults to die during war, mostly from disease. Infants under 6 months who are breastfed are 7 times less likely to die from diarrhea and 5 times less like to die of pneumonia than non-breastfed infants. The report says breastfeeding strengthens the immune system of infants, reducing their risk of dying from infections and diseases. Breastfeeding also helps the mother survive war’s diseases and trauma. A University of Pittsburgh study released last April says the longer a woman breastfeeds, the less likely she is to have a heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular accident, which are reduced by 10% when breastfeeding for more than a year. Campaigns promoting breastfeeding by WHO and UNICEF are credited with contributing to reducing war deaths worldwide, from 33,000 people/conflict in 1950 to fewer than 1,000 people/conflict in 2007. Other factors contributing to the decline include improved humanitarian assistance, better health systems in developing countries, and localization of post-Cold War conflicts.
Jan 28, 2010 –
CBCNews reports that a study in the February issue of the journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism links SSRI-type antidepressants, such as Prozac and Paxil, with delayed start of full milk secretion. Researchers state that the body’s production and regulation of serotonin is closely related to the breasts’ ability to secrete milk at the right time. SSRI drugs may impact serotonin regulation in the breast, delaying the establishment of a full milk supply. The study looked at the effects of SSRI on milk production in 431 new mothers. The average onset of lactation was 85.9 hours postpartum for SSRI mothers and 69.1 hours for mothers not taking SSRI drugs. Because SSRI drugs are very helpful, new mothers taking SSRIs need breastfeeding support to help them reach their goals. The researchers stated more research is needed before specific recommendations regarding SSRI use during breastfeeding can be made.
Jan 26, 2010 –
A press release from Biomed Central reports on a new study published in BMC Pediatrics that examined the effects of maternal factors and hospital infant feeding practices on breastfeeding. Results showed that ethnic group, mothers who had already given birth more than once, and hospital infant feeding practices were the most important factors associated with length of breastfeeding. The study found no association between mothers who were supported by a peer support program and other factors previously thought to be connected to duration – marital status, mode of deliver, time to initiate breastfeeding, and socio-economic deprivation. The study found that 50% of the supported mothers breastfeed for more than 27 weeks. White mothers were more likely to stop breastfeeding (69%) compared to non-white mothers. White mothers also breastfed for shorter durations than mothers from other ethnic groups.