If you have a great deal of money, live in an exclusive neighborhood, and deliver your baby in a top hospital, you'll probably choose to breastfeed.
The benefits of breastfeeding are well-documented. Stomach viruses, lower respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and meningitis occur less often in breastfed babies and are less severe when they do happen.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of life, continuing until one year of age or longer, as mutually desired by mother and baby. While the benefits of breastfeeding are plenty, many mothers face overwhelming challenges in continuing to breastfeed.
The Department of Health report discovered that mothers in wealthier neighborhoods were 1.6 times more likely to exclusively (only breast milk, not formula) breastfeed for the first five days of their baby's life than were mothers in poorer neighborhoods.
Another report found that women who were in better-funded hospitals are far more likely to exclusively breastfeed their newborn, and by contrast, the lowest-performing hospitals for breastfeeding are those that primarily serve the poor.
Because hospitals that care for low-income Americans have had budget cuts, they've ben forced to discontinue many of their first-time mother training programs, which include breastfeeding education.
Since these hospitals are usually understaffed and overburdened, doctors and nurses have a tendency to hand out formula, rather than take the time to help prepare and teach a new mom how to breastfeeding. This leaves poor mothers trying to find another way to figure breastfeeding.
Increased funding for maternity care programs for hospitals that cater to the poor is one possible way to decrease the breastfeeding gap between the rich and the poor.
But while breastfeeding may be natural, it isn't always easy, nor does it just happen.
The benefits of breastfeeding are clear, but it isn't mandatory. Some moms have their own good reasons for not wanting to breastfeed, and choose not to do so. Everyone should have breastfeeding instruction available to them, whether they're wealthy or not.