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CDC: More mothers breastfeeding

February 8, 2013

An estimated 75% of infants began breastfeeding in 2008, up from 70% in 2000, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The proportion of infants breastfeeding after 6 months rose nearly 10 percentage points over the period, to 44%, while the proportion breastfeeding after 12 months rose more than 7 percentage points, to 23%. Breastfeeding among African Americans increased nearly 12 percentage points over the period, but whites and Hispanics continued to have higher breastfeeding rates. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding for at least 12 months as complementary foods are introduced, citing the health benefits for mothers and babies. About 90 hospitals are participating in a CDC-funded initiative to improve breastfeeding support in hospitals. Participants in the Best Fed Beginnings collaborative work with national breastfeeding and quality improvement experts to implement 10 steps to successful breastfeeding established by the World Health Organization/UNICEF Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.