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Many Women Say No to Breast-Feeding for 6 Months: Survey
Date:3/15/2012

essionals] make it sound so easy."

Health workers should support women and build their confidence about breast-feeding, said Hoddinott, a senior clinical research fellow and general practitioner at the University of Aberdeen. "Our advice would be that women should breast-feed as long as they can and introduce solids as close to 6 months as possible."

What do American doctors think?

The recommendations about breast-feeding remain valid and shouldn't be ignored, contends Dr. Richard J. Schanler, associate chairman of the department of pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York.

The goal for medical professionals should be to help women meet the guidelines, he said, although "it's going to take years to get us moving in the right direction."

Still, breast-feeding isn't appropriate for every mother, added Dr. Bradley Thach, a professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

He said the guidelines make sense in underdeveloped countries, where onetime recommendations about using formula instead of breast milk turned out to be disastrous. "That led to lots of infectious diseases in young infants, which breast-feeding protects against, and a lot of deaths. As a world health thing, it's commendable. Breast-feeding is good if you can do it."

However, many women have trouble with breast-feeding for a variety of reasons and may suffer from pain, Thach said. At the same time, women in the United States may face pressure to breast-feed from people like lactation specialists at hospitals, he added.

Rahil Briggs, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, cautioned that the number of women who chose to take part in the survey is small -- just 36 of more than 500. "It's safe to assume that these 36 women may have differed in some significant way from all those who declined," Briggs said. "Perhaps they experienced particular difficulty related to breast-fe
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