The state health department is reviewing information from the first year of a cooperative project with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that surveys new mothers in Iowa.
The state coordinator of the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Survey or PRAMS, Sarah Mauch, says it shows some mixed results when it comes to breastfeeding.
“Quite honestly, Iowa is doing well at our breastfeeding initiation. What we struggle with — and what I think most states struggle with — is that continuation of breastfeeding. Only about half of our babies are still being breastfed at 12 weeks,” Mauch says. She says the survey gives them some specific information on who is and who isn’t breastfeeding.
“Our young and low-income moms are our least likely to continue breastfeeding,” Mauch says. “And so that’s an area that our department is very specifically looking at to see how we can increase support for moms to continue breastfeeding.” Part of the issue is the six to 12 week mark is when many mothers go back to work.
“How do we continue to support them in having access to a secure, clean space to pump or breastfeed. And what types of issues are they experiencing that causes them to stop breastfeeding,” Mauch says.
Mauch says there are other issues that impact whether or not a mother breastfeeds her baby. “Some of those are just not knowing much about breastfeeding because it is something that I think is still not extremely common in our culture to see,” Mauch says.
Mauch says they will continue working to educate mothers about the health benefits of breastfeeding for babies.