US breastfeeding rates are up! CDC helps pave the way
In observance of World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, learn about our nation’s progress in promoting and supporting breastfeeding mothers and babies.
Since 2002, the National Immunization Survey has included questions regarding breastfeeding practices. In that time, the percentage of babies who start out breastfeeding has increased from 71% to 81% in 2013. Babies are also breastfeeding for longer. 52% of U.S. babies born in 2013 are still being breastfed at 6 months. While this shows much progress, only 22% of U.S. babies born in 2013 were exclusively breastfed for the first six months, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Mothers who are able to breastfeed continue to face challenges. These include less than optimal support from some hospitals and communities, including availability of and access to lactation providers and support groups.
The good news is that since the release of the 2011 Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, the federal government and its partners have made important progress in improving breastfeeding support across the nation.
More hospitals have earned designation as a ‘Baby-Friendly’ hospital.
- In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) to help increase the number of U.S. hospitals designated as Baby-Friendly. As part of this effort, 72 hospitals are now designated as Baby-Friendly, representing an additional 227,000 babies per year born in hospitals offering evidence-based maternity care.
- CDC funds the Enhancing Maternity Practices (EMPower) initiative. This is a hospital-based quality improvement project designed to support hospitals working towards Baby-Friendly designation. At the end of 2015, 94 U.S. hospitals were participating in the EMPower initiative.
More communities offer peer and professional support to breastfeeding moms and babies.
- CDC supports 69 local health departments and community-based organizations in providing peer and professional lactation support to African American and underserved women and infants.
National data systems continue to capture progress on breastfeeding rates and trends in the U.S.
- Hospitals implementing more than half of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding increased from 28.7% in 2007 to 53.9% in 2013, according to CDC’s survey of Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC).
- CDC uses data from the National Immunization Survey (NIS) to describe breastfeeding rates included in the Breastfeeding Report Card. The Report Card, presents state level indicators that reflect the Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding objectives.
Visit the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity to learn how you can support breastfeeding:
- Get the latest data on breastfeeding rates.
- Learn how you can support breastfeeding.
- Use the Breastfeeding Report Card to track changes in breastfeeding over time and compare your rates to other states.