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Half of babies in U.S. now breastfed: CDC


10:13, August 01, 2013

WASHINGTON, July 31 (Xinhua) -- The number of U.S. babies who are breastfed has continued to rise over the past decade, according to new data released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Between 2000 and 2010, the rate of babies breastfeeding at six months increased from 35 percent to 49 percent and the rate of babies still breastfeeding at 12 months rose from 16 percent to 27 percent, the data showed.

Overall, 77 percent of new mothers at least tried to breastfeed at first during the same time period, the CDC said.

Babies who are breastfed are less likely to have ear and gastrointestinal infections, and less likely to be obese and have diabetes, while mothers who breastfeed are less likely to have breast and ovarian cancers, according to the CDC.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that newborns get nothing but breastmilk for the first six months of life and that mothers continue to breastfeed, along with giving other food, for at least a year or even longer "as mutually desired by mother and baby."

"Breastfeeding lowers health care costs. Researchers have calculated that 2.2 billion dollars in yearly medical costs could be saved if breastfeeding recommendations were met," CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement.

"It is critical that we continue working to improve hospital, community and workplace support for breastfeeding mothers and babies and realize these cost savings," Frieden said.

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