MEXICO CITY (AP) - Despite the well-known advantages to breast milk and vigorous campaigns around the world promoting it, Mexican mothers are choosing the bottle instead.
In a dramatic decline over the past six years, only one in seven mothers in Mexico today breast-feeds exclusively in the first six months, the standard recommended by the World Health Organization. That leaves Mexico with nearly the lowest level of breast-feeding in Latin America.
Experts call it a public health crisis for a country where millions still live in extreme poverty, dirty water threatens the health of many families and education is poor. Mother's milk is richer in nutrients and antibodies that protect newborns from infections.
Mexico has the highest infant mortality rate among the world's 40 largest economies.
Officials blame an invasion of baby food ads, little regulation of formula companies and the failure of doctors to promote breast-feeding for an overreliance on formula.