The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of mothers breastfeeding their infants increased from 74.6 percent in 2008 to 76.9 percent in 2009, the latest year such data was available.
When second-time mother Sue Creasy considered breastfeeding her children, she took into account its nutritional value, bonding and costs. The Grand Haven woman learned how expensive formula can be because she had to switch to it after breastfeeding efforts with her first child didn’t pan out.
“I know formula has nutrition, but not like breast milk,” Creasy said.
Dr. Tabatha Barber, chief of North Ottawa Community Hospital's obstetrics department, attributes the rise in breastfeeding mothers to the strong push supporting breastfed babies by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health.
Barber said another possible reason for the increase stems from physicians and midwives taking time to discuss the benefits of nursing. The federal insurance initiative, Obamacare, may also play a factor.
“The Affordable Care Act has forced insurance companies to cover breast pumps after women deliver, which removed huge obstacles to working women who wanted to breastfeed, but didn’t easily have the means to continue once they returned to work,” she said.
Barber said North Ottawa Community Hospital offers two classes for mothers: Breastfeeding Preparation, and Breastfeeding and Beyond.
Laura Bronold, a registered nurse in the Grand Haven hospital's Family Birthing Unit, said they help mothers learn different positioning techniques and help overcome challenges along the way. She said they encourage new moms to breastfeed, even if it isn’t for a long time.
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