A Surgeon General’s report finds an “alarmingly low” rate of new mothers breast-feed their babies — numbers mirrored in Iowa. The report calls for a cultural shift back to breast-feeding, especially for black women. Carol Reeder is a lactation consultant in Cedar Rapids who says doctors need to do a better job of explaining to new moms the benefits of breast-feeding.Reeder has seen a trend in eastern Iowa as fewer women of all races breast-feed. She says many women may not be aware of the healthy pluses that can come from the practice. She says breast milk is easier to digest for the baby and breast-feeding helps the mother and child to bond.Other benefits include: babies suffer fewer illnesses, their brains develop faster — and it’s cheaper than buying formula. Reeder says 65-percent of women who give birth at St. Luke’s Hospital start breast-feeding, but the number drops to 46-percent of women who continue breast-feeding for the recommended six months. She says many women stop when they return to work. She says community and employer support would encourage more breast-feeding.Reeder says more eastern Iowa companies are offering “pump breaks” or “pump rooms” for employees.
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