More Nursing Mothers, But Concerns Remain
According to a recent study, more than 80 percent of new mothers breastfeed their babies, but fewer than a third of them do so for one year—the recommended minimum length of time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk exclusively for at least 6 months and continued nursing for at least a year.
The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2013, showed that about 51 percent of mothers breastfeed their babies at six months. That figure is higher than in 2000 when just 35 percent of 6-month-old infants were breastfed. The CDC reports that by the time the infant is a year old, only about 30 percent are still breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding has many known benefits, and according to the CDC, these statistics show most mothers are trying to breastfeed their babies. One obstacle may be that nursing is difficult for mothers who work. In the U.S., the average maternity leave is only about 10 weeks.