Thursday, August 2, 2012

U.S. Breastfeeding Rates

In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, the Journal of Human Lactation is available online  FREE for the month of August! And so is the Breastfeeding Medicine journal! Be sure to check it out.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have release the U.S. date on breastfeeding from the cohort of babies born in 2008 and 2009 (some data still being collected for 2009).

The data show that breastfeeding rates have increased! yay! The CDC report card states:
Breastfeeding rates continue to rise, with increases of about 2 percentage points in breastfeeding initiation, and breastfeeding at 6 and 12 months. Breastfeeding initiation increased from 74.6% in 2008 to 76.9% in 2009 births. This improvement in initiation represents the largest annual increase over the previous decade. Breastfeeding at 6 months increased from 44.3% to 47.2%; breastfeeding at 12 months increased from 23.8% to 25.5%.
Further good news is that
The last few years also have seen acceleration in the percent of babies that are born in hospitals designated as Baby-Friendly, an international recognition of best practices in maternity care.  In 2008, less than 2% of births occurred in Baby Friendly facilities. In the last 4 years that number has more than tripled to 6%.

The number of infants who are supplemented with infant formula has eked downward by tenths of a percentage. The Healthy People 2020 goals haven't been met, but it's a step in the right direction. 

Of course these increases are not huge, and the vast majority of mothers and babies are not receiving the best quality of care to help them reach their breastfeeding goals, but it's still good news. I think it means that the hard work we are all doing in the lactivist world is paying off!

If you'd like to see the data charts, go to the CDC data site here.

The CDC Report Card lists how every state did on all of the study's indicators, including Average mPIScore, Percent of live births occuring at Baby Friendly Facilities, Percent of breastfed infants receiving formula before 2 days of age, Number of La Leche League Leaders per 1,000 live births, Number of IBCLCs per 1,000 live births, and  whether States child care regulation supports onsite breastfeeding.

If you'd like to find your state in the CDC Breastfeeding Report Card, go here.

New Jersey has the highest percentage of infants receiving formula, and New Hampshire has the least. Louisiana has the lowest percentage of babies breastfeeding at 6 months, and Oregon has the highest!

To access breastfeeding report cards from previous years, or to get more information about the CDC's survey, visit this website.

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