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The Supreme Court considers U.S. Census citizenship question – we have a pair of reports. Also on the Wednesday rundown: A look at how poor teacher pay and benefits can threaten preschoolers' success. And the Nevada Assembly votes to restore voting rights for people who've served their time in prison.

Daily Newscasts

CA Bill Aims to Improve Breastfeeding Rates

June 30, 2011

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Nearly 90 percent of new California mothers enter the hospital intending to breastfeed, but only half end up doing so once they leave. Supporters of a bill moving through the state Legislature say studies have also found that hospital practices can have a dramatic impact on breastfeeding rates.

Sen. Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, says Senate Bill 502 would require all maternity hospitals to have an infant feeding policy in place that would give new moms the support they need to decide whether to breastfeed their newborns.

"Only 50 percent actually leave that hospital after giving birth to their child or children and actually do breastfeed exclusively. For many women, especially low-income women, assistance in hospitals may be the only help that they receive."

Breastfeeding has been shown to help prevent the onset of chronic health conditions and diseases as well as childhood obesity, De Leon says. The U.S. surgeon general recently released a "Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding" which urges nationwide support for the removal of barriers to breastfeeding.

Because hospitals are the only source of breastfeeding support and education for many women, Francisco Oaxaca, director of public affairs for First 5 LA, says their commissioners approved a grant of more than $10 million to improve Los Angeles County's low breastfeeding rates.

"First 5 Los Angeles feels that one of the main reasons is the ability of mothers to access information about breastfeeding and to receive support in overcoming some of the challenges that breastfeeding can play, especially initially."

Besides providing health benefits for the child and mother, Oaxaca says, breastfeeding also is good for the economy. A recent Harvard study estimated that the United States would save $13 billion per year if 90 percent of infants were breastfed exclusively for six months.

More info about Senate Bill 502 is online at

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA