MONDAY, Feb. 4 -- A new national survey reveals that, while almost all mothers recognize the importance and benefits of breastfeeding both for themselves and their babies, a large majority of moms want the right to make their own infant feeding decisions, based on all available information and what best suits their family’s needs.
The survey overwhelmingly shows that mothers do not question or fail to understand the advantages of breastfeeding. When asked what actions could help increase breastfeeding in the United States, 29 percent of mothers said, "Guaranteeing paid maternity leave or longer maternity leave," and 28 percent said, "Providing more support for non-food items like a breast pump, so women can continue to breastfeed when they go back to work." Moms also said they would like more breastfeeding support in the workplace.
However, the survey shows that 77 percent of mothers in the United States do not agree with hospital or government policies that limit their access to educational information on infant formula and samples during their hospital stay. Also, 94 percent of mothers said restricting the use of formula in the hospital would not have changed their decisions on whether or not to breastfeed or how long they breastfed.
"HealthyWomen agrees that breastfeeding is the ideal infant feeding choice. However, we also believe it’s important that moms receive information on both breastfeeding and infant formula," said Elizabeth Battaglino, president and CEO of HealthyWomen. "According to the survey, 81 percent of moms get infant feeding information from their doctors and nurses, but only 58 percent reported receiving educational material on infant formula. Mothers who do not receive information on safe preparation and use of formula may be at a disadvantage."