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Mississippi Has Lowest Breastfeeding Rate in Nation

By Evelina Burnett | Published 05 Aug 2013 08:00am | comments
Gulfport Memorial Hospital lactation consultant Stephanie Gable shows the donated breast milk in the hospital's milk bank program. Photo courtesy Memorial Hospital at Gulfport

Mississippi has the lowest breastfeeding rate in the nation. As MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports, experts say the key to encouraging breastfeeding is education and support.

Stephanie Gable’s job here at Gulfport Memorial hospital is to help educate and encourage new moms about breastfeeding their babies. The lactation consultants at Memorial offer breastfeeding classes and assistance to new moms.  In addition to education, Gable says one of the keys to encouraging breastfeeding is to provide support, lots of it.

The CDC says the breastfeeding rate in Mississippi is 50.5 percent, the lowest in the nation. In the U.S., 77% of babies are breastfed at some point. CDC researcher Jessica Allen says there are an array of health benefits to breastfeeding.

Part of the challenge is breastfeeding is not the social norm in the south. Amy Winter was breastfeeding coordinator for Mississippi’s WIC program for almost seven years. She says that’s one reason why moms need support and encouragement.

The CDC study also noted that Mississippi is one of only six states whose day care licensing regulations support breastfeeding.

CDC Link: 2013 Breastfeeding Report Card
 

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Gulfport Memorial Hospital lactation consultant Stephanie Gable shows the donated breast milk in the hospital's milk bank program. Photo courtesy Memorial Hospital at Gulfport


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