Breast-feeding at an all time high
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The numbers are based on in-person interviews and physical examinations of 434 mothers and infants during 2005 and 2006. Breaking down the numbers by race, the most significant rise in breast-feeding rates were found in black mothers, who historically have had lower than average numbers. During that 1993-1994 period, only 36 percent of African-American babies were breast-fed. That number has now risen to 65 percent.
"It was very impressive that when it comes to beginning to breast-feed, African-American women have had the greatest progress," says U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher.
For Mexican-American mothers, 80 percent now report breast-feeding their babies - up from 67 percent. For white moms, the numbers rose from 62 percent to 79 percent. The lowest rates for breast-feeding were found in unmarried, poor, rural and young mothers under 20 who have a high school education or less.
Experts attribute the rising numbers of breast-feeding moms to education campaigns and a changing culture that is more accepting and accommodating of nursing mothers.