CDC issues report on breast-feeding among mothers

ATLANTA Three-out-of-4 new moms initiate breast-feeding, according to the "2010 Breast-feeding Report Card" released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, only 43% of babies are still being breast-fed at 6 months of age.

The 75% breast-feeding initiation rate meets the nation's Healthy People 2010 goal, and half of the states have breast-feeding initiation rates above 75%.

"Meeting the national breast-feeding initiation goal is a great accomplishment in women's and children's health, but we have more work ahead," stated William Dietz, director of CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. "We need to direct even more effort toward making sure mothers have the support they need in hospitals, workplaces and communities to continue breast-feeding beyond the first few days of life, so they can make it to those 6- and 12-month marks."

State by state breast-feeding initiation rates ranged from 52.5% in Mississippi to nearly 90% in Utah.

While initiation rates steadily have risen, the number of babies who continue breast-feeding until 6 months and 12 months remains stagnant for the third consecutive year. Only 43% (1.8 million) are still breast-feeding at 6 months, and only 22% (fewer than 1 million) are breast-feeding at 12 months. National Healthy People 2010 objectives call for 50% of new mothers to continue breast-feeding for 6 months and 25% to continue for one year.

Breast-feeding at 6 months of age ranged from over 62% in Oregon to about 20% in Louisiana. Breast-feeding at 12 months ranged from nearly 40% in Oregon and Vermont to 8% in Mississippi.