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Experts strategize on how to encourage breastfeeding at convention

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More than 86% of California mothers start breastfeeding in the hospital, but many stop within the first few days or weeks. The reasons for this drop-off —and how to reverse it-- will be one of the topics discussed at the California Breastfeeding Coalition’s annual convention, a three-day event starting today in Anaheim.

The goal of this year’s convention is ambitious: to shift the American breastfeeding paradigm.  In other countries, where breastfeeding is culturally more community-based, nursing happens for a much longer period. Organizers said that in the U.S., where breastfeeding is seen as an individual choice and some people frown on public breastfeeding, often women nurse less and for shorter periods. They want to change that and increase the number of California mothers who exclusively breastfeed their babies.

Physicians, nurses, lactation consultants, nutritionists, advocates and moms will also discuss how breastfeeding is promoted -- and undermined -- in California hospitals.

Attendees will learn about new research that shows improved health outcomes for babies when a mother’s milk is the first food.

The conference runs through Friday at the Crown Plaza Anaheim Resort.