JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show more moms are breastfeeding their babies for longer. The agency found in 2018, 82% of moms breastfed when they had their babies. In 2008, that number stood at 70%.
If you walk through Target, Walmart or any store in Jacksonville, shelves are lined with products aimed to assist with nursing.
“Normalize breastfeeding” is still a trending hashtag on social media. For board-certified lactation consultant, Jess Willis, the decade to decade numbers are encouraging.
"Our society has gotten the message out loud and clear that this is better for babies. And it's good for moms," Willis said. "Moms really want to do this."
Through her work as a leader with La Leche League of Jacksonville, Willis provides support in person, online and over the phone for local mothers.
The CDC numbers show 82% of mothers breastfed their babies at birth in 2018. But for mothers who breastfed their babies at 6 months, the number drops to 54%. While the number for that time frame is higher than it was 2008, Willis says it’s clear more work needs to be done.
"Why are we losing so many mothers there?" Willis said. "That relates to the support that we talked about. Or not having the appropriate support."
Willis says to help mothers continue nursing, support needs to extend beyond the doctor’s office.