First lady encourages women to breastfeed

By Liane Membis
Clutch Magazine

The First Lady is pushing to give women more power here in America, especially in regards to raising their children.

Michelle Obama is encouraging that women breastfeed their children, her emphasis on the fact that nursing is one way to help reduce childhood obesity. Her public support comes at a time with when the Obama administration has made several moves to gain more public support for breastfeeding, including a push for flexible workplace rules and a recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruling that will qualify breast pumps and other nursing materials for tax breaks.

Obama spoke about the strategy for the second leg of her “Let’s Move” campaign to fight childhood obesity with ten reporters.

“We also want to focus on the important touch points in a child’s life. And what we’re learning now is that early intervention is key. Breastfeeding. Kids who are breastfed longer have a lower tendency to be obese,” reported.

“We want to get into child-care centers, day-care centers, and start talking about how — what kind of snacks they’re getting there. We want to have those conversations at an earlier level. But those are just some of the things that you’ll see.”

Rates for breastfeeding amongst African-American mothers is very low, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

“And because it’s important to prevent obesity early, we’re also working to promote breastfeeding, especially in the black community — where 40 percent of our babies never get breastfed at all, even in the first weeks of life, and we know that babies that are breastfed are less likely to be obese as children,” she said.

The First Lady, who has spoken publicly about nursing her youngest daughter Sasha, is treading carefully on a touchy issue for most women.

Robin Schepper, the executive director of “Let’s Move” , said that although Mrs. Obama wants to increase the rates of breastfeeding, she “is not telling women to breastfeed … but wants to make it easier for moms by encouraging hospitals to change practices so after a baby is born, the baby is in the room with them.”

The First Lady plans to push for more hospitals to be certified as “Baby Friendly” by Baby Friendly USA, a non-governmental organization that works to increase breastfeeding opportunities. Only 3 percent of all births occur in “Baby Friendly” hospitals in the United States.

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