New data from the Centers for Disease Control show 90 percent of new Minnesota mothers breastfeed, with the state ranking among the top in the country. Linda Dech with the state Health Department says the public is more aware of the benefits of breastfeeding to mother and child. “We’ve seen that in many different places,” she says. “Even… U-S Bank Stadium has accommodations for moms who want to nurse or pump. Employers, I think, have become more accommodating.” Laws on the books in Minnesota for a number of years specify employers must provide time and a place that is free from intrusion where new mothers can breastfeed. A 2014 revision requires it be somewhere other than a restroom. Organizations who have been recognized by the state Health Department as “breastfeeding friendly” are highlighted on the Breastfeeding Friendly recognition page. This work was recognized in the new CDC Breastfeeding Report Card released this week.
Despite the encouraging numbers, Dech says there’s always room for improvement. She points particularly to differences in breastfeeding rates between various racial and ethnic groups. And Dech says even though the proportion of women initiating breastfeeding in the Minnesota WIC (Women, Infant, Children) Program has risen from 63 to 80 percent since 2001, some women face more barriers to breastfeeding.
Hear the complete interview here: