2010 CDC Breastfeeding Report Shows Improvements
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card. The good news is that more than 75% of babies born in 2007 (over 3 million) started life breastfeeding. The bad news is that by six months less than 43% (1.8 million) were still being breastfed. This number drops to 22% who are still breastfeeding at 12 months.
Breastfeeding Report shows improvement in Baby-Friendly environments
The report notes more babies in the U.S. are born at Baby-Friendly™ facilities than ever before, but still represent less than 4% of all U.S. births.
Facilities can be designated Baby-Friendly if they meet standards implemented set by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The program outlines 10 steps that support the initiation of breastfeeding and identifies hospitals that meet internationally recognized health care quality standards for maternity and breastfeeding support. In 21 states and the District of Columbia there are none of these hospitals.
The Breastfeeding Report Card also provides data from a CDC survey measuring every U.S. hospital's maternity practices in infant nutrition and care. The average score of all birth facilities is 65 out of a possible 100 points. Only 2 states’ facilities scored 80 or more points. The top score goes to New Hampshire (81), the lowest to Mississippi (50).
National Healthy People 2010 objectives call for 50% of new mothers to continue breastfeeding for six months and 25% to continue for one year. This goal has been meet in Oregon (62% at 6 months, 40% at one year), but much improvement is needed in many other states. Louisiana only had 20% still breastfeeding at 6 months. Mississippi only had 8% still breastfeeding at one year.
Breastfeeding offers many benefits. Breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. And breast-fed babies are less likely to become overweight or obese children or adolescents compared to babies who are exclusively bottle-fed.
To reach the proposed goals hospitals must improve the support and care given to new mothers as they initiate breastfeeding. Communities and workplaces must improve in facilitating the continuation.
The Breastfeeding Report Card is available at www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/data/reportcard.htm.