Surgeon general's video: America 'oversexualizes' breasts

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin this week launched a new federal bid to convince African-American women to breastfeed by dispelling myths about the most basic mother-child act, including one that dads don't want to share mommy's breast.

In a mythbuster video accompanying the new program, "It's Only Natural, Mother's Love, Mother's Milk," a "breastfeeding educator" says, "One thing that I heard a lot from a lot of moms in the community is that their partner did not want them to breastfeed because they wanted the breast back, and it kind of has to do with the over sexualization of the breast in the American culture."

The goal of the program is to get black women to breastfeed more. Overall, 80 percent of women in America breastfeed, but only 55 percent of new African-American moms breastfeed, according to the surgeon general's office. Benjamin said the problem is especially bad among Southern black moms.

The program explains ways to breastfeed and provides details on the health aspects, but it's the myths about it that get attention on the surgeon general's new website. "New moms get a lot of baby advice. Although people usually mean well, not all of it is based on fact. Myths about breastfeeding are common," says the It's Only Natural site.

Common myths in the African-American community, says the site, are that breastfeeding will change the breast's shape, that it's difficult to breastfeed with large or small breasts, and that using formula is healthier and cheaper than breastfeeding. Another myth is that dads worry that moms who breastfeed will create closer relationships with their babies than their men.