Local moms say breast is best
The first week of August marks the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week.
Nursing in public is controversial in America and a group of mothers in Idaho Falls is raising awareness and promoting acceptance.
A recent survey shows U.S. moms are the most uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public, with 40 percent too scared to.
While 75 percent of American babies start out drinking breast milk, only 35 percent continue when they reach 3 months.
Experienced mother, Whitney Jensen, said her youngest baby loves it.
"I feel like it's the best for my baby," said Jensen. "It's healthy, it's cheaper, it was just all around the best idea."
And Whitney isn't alone. Plenty of Idaho moms are receptive to breastfeeding, despite some hesitation to nurse in public.
"Idaho moms, especially in our area of the state, are pretty modest," said Angy Cook, an international board certified lactation consultant. "Sometimes that can be a deterrent for breastfeeding; women are nervous about when and where they'll be able to feed their baby."
But regardless, the gem state leads the nation with 91.8 percent of mothers choosing to nurse; followed by California at 91.6 percent, Oregon at 90.2 percent and Colorado at 89.1 percent.
"Those rates drop off to about 50 percent when they reach three months and one of those barriers is that women are nervous to breastfeed in public," said Cook.
Whitney said she nurses in public if she needs to and encourages other moms to do the same.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies nurse until their first birthday.
"Just be proud of what you're doing," said Jensen. "Be proud that you're giving your baby the best."
There is no protection for mothers in Idaho who want to nurse in public.
A woman can be cited for lewd and lascivious conduct and asked to leave public places.
The Eastern Idaho Public Health District is organizing a breastfeeding awareness picnic Friday, August 2nd at Kate Curley Park in Idaho Falls from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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