Public-health officials are shifting tactics in an effort to encourage more women to breast-feed their babies–they are pushing hospitals to change their maternity practices.
The percentage of women who breast-feed is well below public-health goals, according to recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitals are key to encouraging breast-feeding because the steps taken immediately after birth are essential to help women establish an adequate milk supply and effective nursing practices. If a woman doesn’t really try breast-feeding until a week after giving birth, she probably won’t be successful, experts say.
“What happens in the first three days can make or break your breast-feeding success,” says Jane Morton, a pediatrician at Burgess Pediatrics in Menlo Park, Calif., who helped develop a breast-feeding medicine program at Stanford University.