WBEZ | infants http://www.wbez.org/tags/infants Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Mother's milk may help prevent blindness in preemies http://www.wbez.org/news/mothers-milk-may-help-prevent-blindness-preemies-113804 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/istock_000009972637_full_custom-152eefa66dd20696ac7b65f35b6d9b616e668afc-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res456218493" previewtitle="Babies born prematurely are at risk of eye damage and, in severe cases, permanent blindness. Treatments can help. And human milk looks like it helps, too."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Babies born prematurely are at risk of eye damage and, in severe cases, permanent blindness. Treatments can help. And human milk looks like it helps, too." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/16/istock_000009972637_full_custom-152eefa66dd20696ac7b65f35b6d9b616e668afc-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Babies born prematurely are at risk of eye damage and, in severe cases, permanent blindness. Treatments can help. And human milk looks like it helps, too. (iStockphoto)" /></div><div><div><p>If Stevie Wonder had been born three decades later, we might never have gotten &quot;Superstition&quot; and &quot;Isn&#39;t She Lovely&quot; &mdash; but the musician might never have gone blind, either. Born premature, Wonder developed retinopathy of prematurity, an eye disease that afflicts more than half of babies born before 30 weeks of gestation.</p></div></div></div><p>Though treatments were developed in the 1980s, about&nbsp;<a href="http://https/nei.nih.gov/health/rop/rop">400 to 600 U.S.children</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://www.aao.org/topic-detail/retinopathy-of-prematurity%E2%80%94europe">50,000 children worldwide</a>&nbsp;still go blind every year from the condition. Now a study suggests that number could be slashed by more than half if all those preemies received their mothers&#39; milk.</p><p>&quot;It makes sense that human milk can be protective against retinopathy of prematurity because we know it&#39;s protective against abnormal neurological outcomes in tiny babies,&quot; said&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dellchildrens.net/find-a-doctor/doctor-profile/landers/susan">Susan Landers</a>, a neonatologist in Austin, Texas, and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding Executive Committee. &quot;Retinal tissue is just like neural tissue embryologically; it grows from the same immature cells.&quot;</p><div id="res456210762" previewtitle="Stevie Wonder, seen here performing in 2014, was born prematurely and lost his sight due to retinopathy of prematurity."><p>The study, actually a combined analysis of five studies from 2001 through 2013, found that preemies receiving human milk from their mothers had 46 to 90 percent lower odds of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), depending on how much milk they received and how severe the ROP was. The studies were observational, so they cannot show that breast milk directly caused the lower risk.</p></div><p>&quot;This is a very provocative study, and it does open new questions in new areas for research, but I think it&#39;s too early to conclude that breast milk prevents ROP,&quot; said&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/providers/?personid=2034">Michael Chiang</a>, a professor of ophthalmology and medical informatics at Oregon Health &amp; Science University&#39;s Casey Eye Institute who was not involved in the study. It was published online Monday in the journal&nbsp;Pediatrics.</p><p>Of the infants who develop ROP, most recover and develop well without treatment, but about 10 percent develop severe ROP, increasing their risk of blindness, Chiang said. About half those infants need treatment, which will prevent blindness in 80 to 90 percent of them.</p><p>The new research analyzed the outcomes of 2,208 preterm infants based on whether they received exclusive human milk, any human milk, mainly human milk (more than 50 percent), exclusive formula, any formula or mainly formula. The study did not include donor milk, so all the milk was the mother&#39;s pumped or hand-expressed breast milk.</p><p>Infants who exclusively received breast milk had 89 percent reduced odds of severe ROP compared to infants who received any formula. Infants who received a mixture of breast milk and formula had roughly half the odds of developing severe ROP compared to infants exclusively receiving formula. The analysis included a very large older study that had found no reduced risk for ROP from breast milk, but most infants in that study received less than 20 percent breast milk.</p><p>&quot;Despite including a negative study with large numbers, the results are still very, very significant,&quot; said Landers, who was not involved in the study. &quot;That strengthens this study considerably.&quot;</p><p><img alt="Stevie Wonder, seen here performing in 2014, was born prematurely and lost his sight due to retinopathy of prematurity." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/16/stevie-wonder_custom-b31fb9ebde47045e5010437e2f458f79a24f6fef-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 217px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Stevie Wonder, seen here performing in 2014, was born prematurely and lost his sight due to retinopathy of prematurity. (Jim Ross/Invision/AP)" /></p><p>Until the 1940s and 1950s, ROP did not exist because infants born prematurely rarely survived, Chiang said. As doctors learned to how to keep these tiny babies, usually little more than 3 pounds at birth, alive, they discovered that the blood vessels in their retinas would often start to grow out of control. If the abnormal growth continued, their retinas detached, causing blindness.</p><p>The first treatment developed in the 1980s was cryotherapy, which slowed blood vessel growth. Laser treatments later replaced cryotherapy and have remained the&nbsp;<a href="https://nei.nih.gov/health/rop/rop">standard of care</a>&nbsp;since. The newest treatment is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reviewofophthalmology.com/content/d/pediatric_patient/c/40126/">bevacizumab,</a>&nbsp;a drug made from humanized antibodies that slows the growth of new blood vessels.</p><p>The cause of ROP isn&#39;t entirely understood, but scientists believe oxidative stress can stimulate the abnormal growth of the blood vessels. Providing preemies with oxygen is often key to their survival, but that oxygen exposure might lead to ROP, according to Jianguo Zhou, a neonatologist in Shanghai, and lead author of the study.</p><p>The antioxidants in breast milk offer one possible way that breast milk could prevent ROP, Zhou explained in an email. But the preventive mechanism could be indirect as well.</p><p>&quot;Breast milk, specifically maternal breast milk, has been shown to be associated with reduced risk of many severe complications of prematurity, including a severe gastrointestinal disease called necrotizing enterocolitis,&quot; said&nbsp;<a href="http://www.medicine.uiowa.edu/dept_primary_apr.aspx?appointment=Pediatrics&amp;id=tcolaizy">Tarah Colaizy,</a>&nbsp;an associate professor of pediatrics and neonatology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. &quot;It has also been shown to decrease the risk of potentially life-threatening blood infections, and there is some evidence that the severity of lung disease due to prematurity is reduced in infants fed maternal milk.&quot;</p><p>Infants without these complications may receive less oxygen therapy, thus lowering the incidence of ROP, Zhou pointed out. Among&nbsp;<a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs363/en/">2 million infants</a>&nbsp;born before 32 weeks each year worldwide, Zhou estimates that a tenth of them could develop severe ROP.</p><p>&quot;Theoretically, exclusive human milk feeding could potentially prevent 8 percent (160,000) very preterm infants from severe ROP globally,&quot; Zhou wrote. &quot;That is an enormous influence and prevents thousands of preterm infants from blindness or visual impairment.&quot;</p><p>ROP is still rare in places with the poorest health infrastructure because very premature infants still do not survive, but in China, India, Latin America and Eastern Europe, the problem is growing as doctors keep the infants alive but lack the neonatology and ophthalmology expertise to screen for and treat ROP. Even in the US where treatment is more available, screening may not be.</p><p>&quot;Especially in rural and medically underserved areas, there&#39;s not enough supply of ophthalmologists to do these exams,&quot; Chiang said. &quot;It&#39;s a huge problem in the US and internationally.&quot;</p><p>But providing exclusive maternal milk to preemies is easier said than done, Landers said. The biggest barrier is adequate lactation support for mothers in the NICU as well as the psychological complexity of the issue for mothers themselves.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a very stressful time, and expressing milk is the only thing that moms can do, so we put a lot of pressure on them,&quot; Landers said. Some mothers don&#39;t fare well under that pressure. The mothers need to start pumping within 12 hours of birth, as well as instruction in expressing milk and support and encouragement over the three or so months she will need to pump before her baby can breastfeed. &quot;As hard as it is to get them started on pumping, it&#39;s harder still to keep them going,&quot; Landers said.</p><p>Even greater cultural obstacles exist among poor and African-American mothers, Landers said, but donor milk may not offer the same benefits, possibly because of its processing and storage needs.</p><p>&quot;To give these mothers the best chance of providing milk, the health care system needs to provide them with professional help in the form of lactation consultants with specific expertise in preterm infant-mother pairs, the appropriate breast pumps and supplies to collect and store milk and assistance in transportation to get the milk to the NICU for the baby,&quot; Colaizy said. &quot;For these extremely fragile infants, maternal breast milk is a potentially life-saving intervention, and we should do everything possible for mothers to help them provide it.&quot;</p><p><em>Tara Haelle is a freelance health and science writer based in Peoria, Ill. She&#39;s on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/tarahaelle">@tarahaelle</a></em></p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/16/456209017/mothers-milk-may-help-prevent-blindness-in-preemies?ft=nprml&amp;f=456209017" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 13:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/mothers-milk-may-help-prevent-blindness-preemies-113804 More babies are dying because of congenital syphilis http://www.wbez.org/news/more-babies-are-dying-because-congenital-syphilis-113771 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/syphilis_wide-b388ef1516c9a9a65bcb6b0e42e8d00b490d7319-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455770081"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="The bacterium that causes syphilis is spread through sexual contact. It's easily cured with antibiotics, but can be hard to diagnose." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/12/syphilis_wide-b388ef1516c9a9a65bcb6b0e42e8d00b490d7319-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="The bacterium that causes syphilis is spread through sexual contact. It's easily cured with antibiotics, but can be hard to diagnose. (CDC/Phanie/Science Source)" /></div><div><div><p>The number of babies born with syphilis has shot up, and it&#39;s taking a toll.</p></div></div></div><p>Of the 458 babies born last year with syphilis, 33 of were stillborn or died shortly after birth. From 2012 to 2014, there&#39;s been a 38 percent increase in cases of congenital syphilis. The spike reverses a previously falling trend in the rates of babies with syphilis from 2008 to 2012, according to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6444a3.htm?s_cid=mm6444a3_w">report</a>&nbsp;released Thursday in&nbsp;Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.</p><p>As rates of new syphilis infections rise and fall, rates of fetal and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/stdfact-syphilis-detailed.htm">congenital syphilis&nbsp;</a>tend to follow suite, says Virginia Bowen, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author on the study. If a pregnant woman carries the bacteria, syphilis can infect the unborn fetus. When that happens, a lot of things can go awry. &quot;Up to 40 percent of babies will die in utero or shortly after delivery,&quot; Bowen says. &quot;Or they might have a severe illness like blindness or deafness or other types of damage.&quot;</p><p>It&#39;s hard to know the reason behind the recent surge in syphilis cases, Bowen says. &quot;The only thing I can say is syphilis is going up right now across the board,&quot; she says. &quot;From &#39;13 to &#39;14, we are seeing syphilis going up everywhere, including among the women, and we don&#39;t have the answers as to why.&quot;</p><p>The rising rates in congenital syphilis might betray a larger problem among health care for women and pregnant women, Bowen says. &quot;There are a lot of barriers to getting into the door at the prenatal care provider. That could be related to insurance status, stigma or discrimination.&quot; If women aren&#39;t getting adequate prenatal care, then they can&#39;t be screened for syphilis.</p><p>Access to care can be particularly hard for certain populations, says&nbsp;<a href="https://www.bcm.edu/people/view/3b0b0dd8-3ad5-11e5-8d53-005056b104be">Dr. Martha Rac</a>, a maternal-fetal medicine physician at Ben Taub Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston who was not involved with the study. &quot;African-American women are more disproportionately affected by syphilis than any other race,&quot; she says. And 57 percent of children with congenital syphilis were born to African-American women.</p><p>Lack of prenatal care is probably the greatest contributor to the upturn in congenital syphilis, Rac says. &quot;It seems to be the common theme that women having congenitally infected babies overwhelmingly have, if any, late, poor prenatal care. That is a big area which can be targeted from a public health standpoint.&quot;</p><p>Some states have been harder hit than others. California went from 35 cases in 2012 to 99 in 2014, while Texas continued to see a slight decline in the overall number of babies born with syphilis. &quot;In April, I designated Fresno County as an area of high syphilis, so providers are required to screen for syphilis three times during pregnancy,&quot; says Dr. Ken Bird, health officer for the Fresno County Department of Public Health.</p><p>There are states that have free health coverage for pregnant women. &quot;In California, every pregnant female has coverage for prenatal care [through the Medi-Cal program]. Many don&#39;t realize that, and they&#39;re not sure how to access that care,&quot; Bird says. Other states may cover prenatal visits through state Children&#39;s Health Insurance Programs.</p><p>Syphilis is a difficult disease to diagnose, Bowen says. Many people become asymptomatic after the first lesions or rashes appear, but can still pass the infection on to their unborn children. But as long as the infection is caught early enough, a simple course of antibiotics is enough to ensure a healthy baby. &quot;Of the 458 cases we had last year, every single one of them is considered preventable,&quot; she says.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/12/455768422/more-babies-are-dying-because-of-congenital-syphilis?ft=nprml&amp;f=455768422"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 11:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-babies-are-dying-because-congenital-syphilis-113771 Hospital regulators let baby formula vie with breast milk http://www.wbez.org/content/hospital-regulators-let-formula-vie-breast-milk <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Vanessa3.JPG" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 266px; height: 199px;" title="Lactation consultant Vanessa Stokes says Cook County’s Stroger Hospital has a long way to go. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></div><p>A new French study shows that breastfeeding may have lasting benefits for a child&rsquo;s metabolism. Other studies suggest breastfeeding helps prevent infections, chronic diseases and obesity. Evidence like this has moved the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend giving babies no food or drink other than breast milk for their first six months. At many Chicago-area hospitals, though, breast milk competes with baby formula. At some of them, the real stuff usually loses. From our West Side bureau, we compare how the area&rsquo;s hospitals approach breastfeeding and see whether watchdog agencies are paying much attention.</p><p>MITCHELL: Certified lactation consultant Vanessa Stokes landed a job in December.</p><p>STOKES: I was excited just to get to that place to really make a difference.</p><p>MITCHELL: That place was the maternity ward of Cook County&rsquo;s Stroger Hospital. Stokes was there to encourage and train moms to breastfeed. But she noticed the hospital giving them signals it was OK to feed newborns formula.</p><p>STOKES: I saw bottles in the cribs.</p><p>MITCHELL: Then Stokes met one of the hospital&rsquo;s newest mothers. Like many patients on the ward, she was young and black. What was less usual was her file. It showed she&rsquo;d been planning to breastfeed.</p><p>STOKES: The baby was born and then, at night, she had some problems with latch-on, which happens. She said, &lsquo;The nurse told me to give the baby a bottle.&rsquo; That&rsquo;s what she told me.</p><p>MITCHELL: You believe her?</p><p>STOKES: Yes, I do. Most nurses, they just don&rsquo;t want to take the time to help moms. They have a million other things to do.</p><p>MITCHELL: And there was no breastfeeding peer counselor or lactation consultant on duty overnight?</p><p>STOKES: No.</p><p>MITCHELL: One of Stokes&rsquo; supervisors at Stroger confirms that the hospital keeps bottles in cribs and that the nurses sometimes give out formula without any medical reason. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/baby-formula/breast-feeding-disparities-sharp-chicago-area-hospitals">Birth-certificate data</a> show that less than 60 percent of infants born at Stroger get to breastfeed there. And there are more places like this. A dozen Chicago-area hospitals have even lower rates. The data show there&rsquo;s one on the South Side where just 10 percent of newborns start breastfeeding.</p><p>SOUND: Elevator door closes.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): I&rsquo;m inside that hospital now. It&rsquo;s called Holy Cross. I&rsquo;m taking an elevator to the 6th floor to see Anita Allen-Karriem. She directs what Holy Cross calls its Family Birth Center.</p><p>SOUND: Elevator door opens. Intercom voice. Birth Center door opens.</p><p>MITCHELL: Allen-Karriem shows me around the ward.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: And, as you can see, this is our rooming-in. And our moms are here and they can have their baby here 24/7...</p><p>MITCHELL: She says Holy Cross initiates breastfeeding within an hour of birth.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: My nurses have the tools that they need to assist with breastfeeding the mom. And we encourage breastfeeding on demand.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): How many lactation consultants do you have on staff?</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: We don&rsquo;t have any. Our volume does not support that at this particular time.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): Any peer counselors that come in as volunteers? Breastfeeding peer counselors?</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: No, we don&rsquo;t have that at the present.</p><p>MITCHELL: Allen-Karriem says convincing her patients to breastfeed is not always easy. She says most have not received any prenatal care before showing up in labor. Even more than Stroger Hospital, Holy Cross lets breast milk compete with formula. Allen-Karriem says her hospital sends moms home with a few days worth of formula. The idea&rsquo;s to tide them over, until they get into a federal nutrition program that provides more.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: Is it the best method of nutrition? No, it is not. Breastfeeding is. However, it&rsquo;s the mom&rsquo;s choice. If she wants to exclusively breastfeed, we do not send her home with formula. However, because she has not chosen to breastfeed, would you send her outside your doors with no way to feed her infant and no way to buy any formula?</p><p>MITCHELL: Again, Holy Cross is at the bottom when it comes to breastfeeding rates in Chicago-area hospitals. Experts say that&rsquo;s not a big surprise since it doesn&rsquo;t have lactation consultants and gives out all that formula. But some hospitals are taking a different tack.</p><p>INTERCOM: Stroke alert for the Emergency Room...</p><p>MITCHELL: Like Stroger and Holy Cross, Mount Sinai on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side serves mostly low-income patients. Last year about half the babies born at the hospital were getting breastfed there. To lift that rate, Mount Sinai says it&rsquo;s planning to apply for a pro-breastfeeding designation from the United Nations called Baby Friendly.</p><p>SAIDEL: This is the room where the hearing screen is done...</p><p>MITCHELL: Lou-Ellen Saidel is one of two half-time lactation consultants on Mount Sinai&rsquo;s maternity ward. She says you can see the effect of the Baby Friendly program right in this room. Saidel says the nurses used to quiet down babies for hearing tests by giving them formula. Now, she points to a big sign at eye level.</p><p>SAIDEL: It says, &lsquo;Bottles should only be given for a documented medical reason.&rsquo; So now they don&rsquo;t use formula on breastfeeding babies anymore in here.</p><p>MITCHELL: Saidel says Mount Sinai puts almost every staffer who comes into contact with new mothers or infants through breastfeeding training...</p><p>SAIDEL: ...from registered nurse to secretary. This is a process of people acquiring skills that were not taught in nursing school and medical school.</p><p>MITCHELL: For the Baby Friendly designation, some Sinai staffers will need more training. The sessions won&rsquo;t cost the hospital much money but will eat up staff time. That could explain why no Chicago hospital has applied for the designation. But a lot of breastfeeding experts say the hospitals should give it a try.</p><p>ABRAMSON: Breastfeeding is one those priority areas that are life-and-death for their patients.</p><p>MITCHELL: Rachel Abramson is a former post-partum nurse who heads a Chicago nonprofit group called HealthConnect One.</p><p>ABRAMSON: Those of us who grew up thinking that formula feeding is the norm and perfectly adequate have a hard time shifting our vision to see the risks of illness in the first year of life, juvenile diabetes, of breast cancer for mother, of obesity and diabetes &mdash; lifelong &mdash; for mothers and babies.</p><p>MITCHELL: Abramson says the costs for treating these diseases often ends up on the shoulders of taxpayers. If that&rsquo;s the case, you might think the government and hospital oversight groups would push hard for better breastfeeding rates. But they don&rsquo;t push. They mostly nudge.</p><p>MITCHELL: One group with some accountability is the Oakbrook Terrace-based Joint Commission. It accredits hospitals. Ann Watt helps direct the commission&rsquo;s quality-evaluation division. Watt says about a year ago the commission published some standards for hospitals to measure whether newborns were breastfeeding.</p><p>WATT: Our medical experts have indicated to us that this is a best practice.</p><p>MITCHELL: But these commission standards are voluntary. In fact, just three Illinois hospitals have adopted them.</p><p>MITCHELL (on phone): Could a hospital be performing poorly by these measures and still get accreditation?</p><p>WATT: Yes.</p><p>MITCHELL: Another group with some say is the Illinois Hospital Association. I asked the group whether it would support more public oversight of hospital breastfeeding practices. A spokesman declined to answer on tape but sent a statement saying the rules should not be rigid. The statement says breastfeeding management should begin with prenatal care, not the mother&rsquo;s hospital stay. The hospital association also points out that the decision to breastfeed is personal.</p><p>MITCHELL: The folks with the most to say about hospitals breastfeeding rates are at the Illinois Department of Public Health. The department is in charge of enforcing the state&rsquo;s hospital-licensing code. The code requires hospitals to follow basic breastfeeding guidelines that two physician groups published in 2007. In a statement to WBEZ, the Illinois Department of Public Health says it investigates breastfeeding infection-control issues. Otherwise, though, the department says it does not enforce the guidelines. That leaves public policy on breastfeeding largely up to individual hospitals &mdash; places like Stroger, Mount Sinai and Holy Cross.</p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the status of Mount Sinai Hospital&rsquo;s Baby Friendly effort. Chicago officials announced in August 2010 that Mount Sinai was seeking the international designation. The hospital registered to begin that four-phase process in September 2011.</em></p></p> Thu, 05 May 2011 16:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/hospital-regulators-let-formula-vie-breast-milk Report: Breastfeeding in Illinois hinges partly on race, income http://www.wbez.org/story/report-breastfeeding-illinois-hinges-partly-race-income-85662 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-25/breastfeeding.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Almost half of African-American mothers in Illinois never breastfeed their newborns, according to a report by state and university researchers and a nonprofit group called HealthConnect One.</p> <p> Among new black mothers in 2008, about 45 percent did not start breastfeeding their infants, according to the report, “<a href="http://www.ilbreastfeedingblueprint.org/">Illinois Breastfeeding Blueprint: A Plan for Change</a>.” That figure compares to 21 percent for whites, 14 percent for Latinas and 3 percent for Asian-Americans.</p> <p> The report also shows income disparities. The rate of low-income white mothers in the state who never started breastfeeding babies born in 2008 was 36 percent.</p> <p> “Hospitals should be doing more to encourage breastfeeding,” said University of Illinois at Chicago epidemiologist Deborah Rosenberg, who analyzed data for the report.</p> <p> Looking at all new Illinois mothers, the report says the number who did start breastfeeding was almost 78 percent by 2008 — up about 8 percent from 2000. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has set a national goal of almost 82 percent by 2020.</p> <p> Starting breastfeeding does not mean keeping at it. Twelve weeks after giving birth, just 47 percent of Illinois mothers were breastfeeding, according to the report. Of those, almost half were not breastfeeding exclusively.</p> <p> “Many women go back to work then,” Rosenberg said. “It means that employers need to be supportive of breastfeeding.”</p> <p> Rosenberg said resources for lactation consultants and peer counselors are also falling short.</p> <p> HealthConnect One, based in Chicago, published the report Monday in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Human Services and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health.</p> <p> Next month the group and its partners plan to begin formulating a five-year action plan for hospitals, government agencies, employers, insurers and community groups.</p> <p> <a href="http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/breastfeeding/calltoactiontosupportbreastfeeding.pdf"> Federal health officials</a> say breastfeeding helps babies avoid obesity, infections and chronic diseases. The <a href="http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/feb05breastfeeding.htm">American Academy of Pediatrics</a> recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months.</p></p> Tue, 26 Apr 2011 22:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/report-breastfeeding-illinois-hinges-partly-race-income-85662