The most recent data compares breast feeding rates in 2008 with those from 2000. The figures show that there was a small increase in the proportion of mothers who elect to feed their children with breast milk. In 2000, the level was 70%; whereas by 2008, the level had risen to 75%.
The results are based on a survey undertaken by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and which have been published
via the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The figure of 75% is not spread evenly amongst different ethnic groups, according to Science News
. Further analysis of the figures reveal that 80% of Hispanic newborns were breast-fed in 2008, compared with 75% of white infants and 59% of black infants. The report does not elaborate further on the cultural factors that might explain these differences.
The research did, however, draw a socio-economic conclusion. This was that women who do not breast feed their infants are more likely to be young, single, poor or less educated.
Many studies indicate that there is a benefit to children from being fed breast milk. Recently the Digital Journal reported
on new research from Spain, which examined the range of different bacteria found in breast milk. This study has revealed a larger microbial diversity than originally thought: more than 700 species. The researchers concluded that this make-up had implications for the developing child in relation to the developing immune system.
Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends
exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding for at least 12 months as complementary foods are introduced