Seventy-five percent of U.S. newborns delivered in 2007 ongoing life breast-feeding a figure that meets federal goals but that rate plummeted to 43 percent at six months and 22 percent at one year, a federal government study released Monday shows.
The report shows that breast-feeding initiation rates ranged from 52.5 percent in Mississippi to nearly 90 percent in Utah. Breast-feeding rates at six months ranged from about 20 percent in Louisiana to more than 62 percent in Oregon, while rates at one year ranged from 8 percent in Mississippi to nearly 40 percent in Oregon.
U.S. hospitals had an average score of 65 out of 100 possible points on a CDC survey that measures infant nutrition and care, according to the report card. The scores ranged from 50 in Mississippi to 81 in New Hampshire.
"Evidence shows that hospital routines can help or hinder mothers and babies as they are learning to breast-feed. The care that mothers receive from hospitals should always be based on practices that are proven to help them continue breast-feeding after they go home," she added.
Research has shown that breast-feeding offers many health benefits to babies, including protection from bacterial and viral infections and reduced risk of becoming overweight or obese later in life.
Breast-feeding has also been linked to a lower risk, in children, of getting type 1 or type 2 diabetes, asthma and childhood leukemia. In mothers, it is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, breast or ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression, according to the National Women's Health Information Center.