Womenshealth.gov writes that the experience of breastfeeding is very special because if offers joyful bonding of the mother and baby, cost savings, and health benefits for both mother and baby. Medline Plus writes that breastfeeding offers many benefits to your baby. Breast milk contains the right balance of nutrients which help your infant to grow into a strong and healthy toddler. Also, some of the nutrients in breast milk help protect your infant against some common childhood illnesses and infections. It also appears certain types of cancer may occur less often in mothers who have breastfed their babies. In an article on Feb. 8, 2013, Charles Bankhead has reported for MedPage Today, Breastfeeding Rates Rise, but Still Disappoint.
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has showed breastfeeding rates have increased significantly in recent years across all racial and ethnic groups, although wide disparities continue to persist. The proportion of new mothers who started breastfeeding increased from 70.3% to 74.6% from 2000 to 2008. Initiation rates for breastfeeding increased significantly among blacks and whites. More Hispanics were breastfeeding at the end of the study period, however the difference from 2000 did not reach statistical significance.
Although the historical disparity among blacks continued, the gap narrowed significantly. And unfortunately, the duration of breastfeeding continued to fall well short of recommendations. The researchers said, "Despite increases in the prevalence of infants ever breastfeed and breastfeeding for 6 and 12 months, only a small percentage of infants were breastfed for the recommended minimum breastfeeding duration of 12 months, indicating that mothers might need support to continue breastfeeding."