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SALT LAKE CITY — Thanks to worldwide campaigns and celebrity endorsements, breastfeeding rates continue to rise in the United States, the CDC reports.
Seventy-nine percent of babies born in the United States in 2011 started to breastfeed, the CDC report stated, thanks in part to more "baby-friendly" hospitals and support groups. However, though 49 percent were still breastfeeding at 6 months, only 27 percent were still breastfeeding at 12 months.
Breastfeeding rates in Utah were much higher than the national average with 89.6 percent of babies born starting to breastfeed. About 63 percent were still breastfeeding at 6 months and 40.7 percent of babies were breastfeeding at a year.
California has the highest rates of babies who start out breastfeeding at 92.8 percent. Louisiana had the lowest rate with only 56.9 percent.
The rise in rates is thanks in part to national and worldwide campaigns ranging from the U.S. Department of Health to the World Health Organization to support groups like the African American Breastfeeding Network and La Leche League International. Each campaign seeks to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers who can and choose to do so.
However, even with these campaigns and the law on their sides, many mothers still face opposition for feeding in public.
“To move towards normalizing breastfeeding at the community level, we need to involve the entire family, not just mothers,” Dalvery Blackwell, co-founder of ABBN, told the CDC. “Everybody has a responsibility.”
To move towards normalizing breastfeeding at the community level, we need to involve the entire family, not just mothers. Everybody has a responsibility.
–Dalvery Blackwell, co-founder of ABBN
Another reason rates are up is thanks to celebrities posting glamorous shots of themselves breastfeeding on social media. Model Gisele Bundchen started the trend when she gave her infamous views on breastfeeding in the September 2010 issue of Harper's Bazaar.
"Some people here think they don't have to breastfeed, and I think, 'Are you going to give chemical food to your child, when they are so little?'" Bundchen told Harper's Bazaar. "There should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months."
Just last week, Olivia Wilde posted a photo of herself nursing her son while wearing a designer dress and heels for a Glamour Magazine photo shoot.
“It felt like we were capturing that multifaceted woman we’ve been discussing — that we know we can be. You can be someone who is at once maternal and professional and sexy and self-possessed,” Wilde told Glamour. “I mean, I certainly don’t really look like that when I’m (typically) breastfeeding. And there’s usually a diaper involved.”
Gwen Stefani also recently shared a photo of herself breastfeeding on vacation in Switzerland on Instagram.
What do you think of this trend to share nursing photos on social media sites? Let us know in the comments.