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Few Babies in Child-Care Centers Receive Breast Milk: Study
Date:5/6/2011

By Madonna Behen
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- While new mothers are strongly encouraged to breast-feed their babies for at least a year, a small study of child-care centers suggests that relatively few are set up to help moms to do so.

The research, led by doctors at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, revealed that only 12 percent of infants enrolled in child-care centers in two counties near Cincinnati were being fed their mother's milk, even though 96 percent of the center directors said they'd be comfortable facilitating the practice.

"We were surprised to find that despite the high staff comfort levels in feeding human milk, only a small percentage of infants were being fed human milk," said study author Dr. Kristen Copeland, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

One big stumbling block seems to be a lack over overnight refrigerated storage at centers for any pumped breast milk mothers might care to leave, the study found.

"We know that centers that allow pumped milk to be stored overnight make it easier for women to provide a constant supply of milk for their babies," Copeland said, "so if more centers offered overnight storage, it might increase the number of infants who are fed human milk."

The findings were presented this week at a joint meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies/Asian Society for Pediatric Research in Denver.

According to the researchers, roughly half of all infants in the United States are in child care, and 18 percent are in centers.

For the study, Copeland and her colleagues conducted telephone surveys with the directors of 167 child-care centers in two urban counties in southwestern Ohio. The directors were asked how many infants currently enrolled at their centers were being fed pumped breast milk, how comfortable the center was with feeding pumped breast milk, and if the
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