Kentucky failing when it comes to breastfeeding - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Kentucky failing when it comes to breastfeeding

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Kentucky ranks 49th in breastfeeding, the only state doing worse is Mississippi. Kentucky ranks 49th in breastfeeding, the only state doing worse is Mississippi.
Angela Hooper Angela Hooper
Dr. Elizabeth Doyle Dr. Elizabeth Doyle

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky has made its way onto another list and this one isn't a good one. The Centers for Disease Control recently released its 2013 Breastfeeding report card, Kentucky came in almost last. 

Kentucky ranks 49th in breastfeeding, the only state doing worse is Mississippi.

The U.S. national average for the number of women who have ever breast fed their children is 76.5 percent according to the report. A state-by-state tally showed that Idaho had the highest percentage of breast-feeding, at 91.8 percent, followed by California at 91.6 percent and Oregon at 90.2 percent. Breast-feeding rates were lowest in Mississippi at 50.5 percent, Kentucky at 52.6 percent, Arkansas at 57.7 percent and Tennessee at 59.6 percent.

Experts say the way to turn things around is through education.

"I was really disappointed because we were 47th last year so, we've dropped," said Dr. Elizabeth Doyle, Director of Lactation Services, Norton Healthcare.

Indiana is doing slightly better than Kentucky, coming in at 43rd at 63.6 percent.

"At lot of breastfeeding rates correlate with education," said Dr. Doyle. "I had just heard last week in Louisville, only 25 percent of adults have college education."

Shepherdsville mother, Angela Hooper says she wouldn't trade anything for the special bond she's created with her 6-week-old son Oliver.

"He is my child who is always hungry," said Hooper. "So, immediately he was like mama I wanna eat."

Dr. Doyle adds that as a society, breastfeeding is not really promoted. Many women even have a hard time nursing in public. Hooper has had her struggles.

"I had to do it at Street Rod Nationals right out in the middle," said Hooper. "People would walk through and occasionally they would catch your attention and they would be like OH!"

The benefits to breastfeeding are many.

"For the baby, the biggest one is decrease of infection," said Dr. Doyle. "Ear infection, stomach bugs and then we get more serious problems like pneumonia, diabetes type 1, and then 40 percent decrease in SIDS death." 

For mom, there are plenty of benefits too. You lower your chances of breast and ovarian cancer and Alzheimer's.  Breastfeeding can also help mom lose that baby weight. A 2010 study reported in Pediatrics found that if 90 percent of mothers breast fed exclusively for six months, it would save $13 billion per year and prevent around 900 infant deaths in the United States alone.

Dr. Doyle adds that breastfeeding doesn't come easy to every mom but, it helps when mom's go home from hospitals with confidence that they can do it.     

Click on the link for a look at the CDC report card, click here.

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