The Surgeon General's call to action to support breastfeeding
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The Surgeon General's call to action to support breastfeeding

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    "For nearly all infants, breastfeeding is the best source of infant nutrition and immunologic protection, and it provides remarkable health benefits to mothers as well. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to become overweight and obese. Many mothers in the United States want to breastfeed, and most try. And yet within only three months after giving birth, more than two-thirds of breastfeeding mothers have already begun using formula. By six months postpartum, more than half of mothers have given up on breastfeeding, and mothers who breastfeed one-yearolds or toddlers are a rarity in our society. October 2010 marked the 10th anniversary of the release of the HHS Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding, in which former Surgeon General David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., reiterated the commitment of previous Surgeons General to support breastfeeding as a public health goal. This was the first comprehensive framework for national action on breastfeeding. It was created through collaboration among representatives from medical, business, women's health, and advocacy groups as well as academic communities. The Blueprint provided specific action steps for the health care system, researchers, employers, and communities to better protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. I have issued this Call to Action because the time has come to set forth the important roles and responsibilities of clinicians, employers, communities, researchers, and government leaders and to urge us all to take on a commitment to enable mothers to meet their personal goals for breastfeeding. Mothers are acutely aware of and devoted to their responsibilities when it comes to feeding their children, but the responsibilities of others must be identified so that all mothers can obtain the information, help, and support they deserve when they breastfeed their infants. Identifying the support systems that are needed to help mothers meet their personal breastfeeding goals will allow them to stop feeling guilty and alone when problems with breastfeeding arise. All too often, mothers who wish to breastfeed encounter daunting challenges in moving through the health care system. Furthermore, there is often an incompatibility between employment and breastfeeding, but with help this is not impossible to overcome. Even so, because the barriers can seem insurmountable at times, many mothers stop breastfeeding. In addition, families are often unable to find the support they need in their communities to make breastfeeding work for them. From a societal perspective, many research questions related to breastfeeding remain unanswered, and for too long, breastfeeding has received insufficient national attention as a public health issue. This Call to Action describes in detail how different people and organizations can contribute to the health of mothers and their children. Rarely are we given the chance to make such a profound and lasting difference in the lives of so many. I am confident that this Call to Action will spark countless imaginative, effective, and mutually supportive endeavors that improve support for breastfeeding mothers and children in our nation." - p. v

    CDC-INFO Pub ID 220558

    Includes bibliographical references (p. 59-68).

  • Content Notes:

    "The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding was prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office on Women's Health under the direction of the Office of the Surgeon General. These three agencies are part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which published the Call to Action." -p. 69


    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General; 2011.

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