Breastfeeding Benefits & Barriers: Breastfeeding Statistics in the United States

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Introductory Topics
Table of Contents
Pre module evaluation
The History of Breastfeeding
The Advantages of Breastfeeding for the Baby
The Advantages of Breastfeeding for the Mother
Breastfeeding Statistics in the United States
Barriers to Breastfeeding
Summary
Post module evaluation
References

The Surgeon General's Goal for Healthy People 2020 is that:

  • 81.9% of women breastfeed their infants at hospital discharge,
  • 60.6% breastfeed their infants at 6 months of age, and
  • 34.1% breastfeed their infants at 12 months (1 year) of age.
  • 42.6% exclusively breastfeed their infants at 3 months of age
  • 25.5% exclusively breastfeed their infants at 6 months of age

In 2001, under the direction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Immunization Survey (NIS) began collecting data on breastfeeding as part of the annual NIS. Data from recall of breastfeeding history was obtained from a subset of infants 19-35 months of age at the time of the survey. The analysis of the survey results is weighted to represent the US population. Breastfeeding questions included: Was the child ever breastfed? How many months was the the child exclusively breastfed up to 6 months of age? How many months was the child receiving any breast milk up to 12 months of age?

Nationwide in 2013, of the infants who were now 19-35 months of age,

  • 76.5% were breastfed at birth,
  • 49.0% were breastfed at 6 months,
  • 27.0% were breastfed at 12 months,
  • 37.7% were exclusively breastfed at 3 months,and
  • 16.4% were exclusively breastfed at 6 months.

NIS results:

  • 17 states have at least 81.9% of women breastfeeding at hospital discharge.
  • 8 states have at least 60.6% of their infants being breastfed at 6 months of age.
  • 8 states have at least 34.1% of their infants being breastfed at 1 year of age.
  • 19 states have at least 42.6% of their infants being exclusively breastfed through 3 months of age.
  • 5 states have at least 25.5% of their infants being exclusively breastfed through 6 months of age.
  • Only California and Idaho are meeting all five of the Healthy People 2020 objectives. Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Vermont have achieved four of the five objectives.
The CDC is also assessing support for breastfeeding in communities by measuring the following in each state:
  • The percentage of hospitals and birth centers where >90% of infants have skin-to-skin contact after birth and are rooming in,
  • The percentage of births occurring in Baby Friendly Hospitals,
  • The percentage of breastfed infants receiving formula before 2 days of age,
  • The number of lactation consultants (IBCLC certified)/1000 births,
  • The number of LaLeche League leaders/1000 births
  • State regulations suspporting breastfeeding onsite at child care centers.
To see how your state scores in breastfeeding rates and support for breastfeeding visit the CDC Breastfeeding Report Card ( Memorize CDC, 2013 ).



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