Nearly 3-in-4 parents want to breast-feed as long as they are able

ANDOVER, Mass. — As many as 95% of women reported having at least attempted to breast-feed their babies, with 35% continuing between four and six months, and another 52% breast-feeding for seven to 12 months, according to the Philips Mother & Child Care Index that was released Monday by the Philips Center for Health and Well-being.

And parents would like to breast-feed even more — 72% expressed a desire to continue breast-feeding as long as possible. The survey cited pain and lack of milk supply as the two top reasons women give-up on breast-feeding, and a return to the workplace also contributed to their decision to stop breast-feeding.

“The findings show that parents are placing a very high value on breastfeeding,” stated Katy Hartley, director for the Philips Center for Health and Well-being. “There is an opportunity to help parents who want to breastfeed their children for longer than six months, but lack the resources to help cope with problems that may arise.”

Pain was usually a factor that caused women to stop breast-feeding within the first three months, and lack of supply typically caused women to stop between three and seven months. As many as 67% of American women cited a lack of milk supply as a reason, compared with 40% globally. And 73% of American women completed a breast-feeding course, compared with 41% of mothers globally.

“Parents’ commitment to breast-feeding should be bolstered by a recent IRS ruling that expenses paid for breast pumps are deductible medical expenses under IRS Section 213(d),” Philips AVENT marketing director Ron Tiktin said. “As a result, expenses for these items may now be reimbursed by flexible spending arrangements, health reimbursement arrangements and health savings accounts.”

To download the complete report, click here.


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