Criticism of breast-feeding program for welfare moms doesn’t make sense

A Washington Post story about a program that seeks to increase breast-feeding among black women in the District is already generating some criticism among commenters who argue that the government should not pay for such initiatives for welfare mothers.

I’m trying to understand the objections.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, breast-feeding helps decrease the risk of obesity and infectious diseases among children and of ovarian and breast cancer among women.


WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 12: A nurse-in at the Hirshhorn Museum last year. (Sarah L. Voisin/THE WASHINGTON POST)

The East of the River Lactation Center received a $163,000 one-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to get a part-time lactation specialist and nutritionist.The center’s four-week class on breast-feeding targets mothers receiving services from the Women, Infants and Children program.

The program educates women on the benefits of breast-feeding and tries to get them over the stigma that sometimes surrounds breast-feeding. A woman featured in the story was feeding her baby at home but was wary of breast-feeding in public.

According to a recent study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, education and age are factors in breast-feeding rates. College graduates are significantly more likely to breast-feed and stick with it through 12 months than less-educated mothers.

A program that may target women who need to become more knowledgeable about breast-feeding is worth $163,000, isn’t it?

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