Breastfeeding Rates are on the Rise: Half of New Moms Breastfeed Until 6 Months

According to a press release the CDC released on Wednesday, almost 50 percent of new moms now breastfeed their babies until they are 6 months. This is up from 35 percent in 2000.

Current breastfeeding rates

In 2010, 49 percent of moms continued breastfeeding until 6 months, and 27 percent continued breastfeeding until 12 months. This is up from 16 percent of babies breastfeeeding until 12 months in 2000.

CDC Director, Tim Frieden, M.D. M.P.H., said, “This is great news for the health of our nation because babies who are breastfed have lower risks of ear and gastrointestinal infections, diabetes and obesity, and mothers who breastfeed have lower risks of breast and ovarian cancers.”

“Also, breastfeeding lowers health care costs,” he added. “Researchers have calculated that $2.2 billion in yearly medical costs could be saved if breastfeeding recommendations were met. It is critical that we continue working to improve hospital, community and workplace support for breastfeeding mothers and babies and realize these cost savings.”

According the CDC, hospitals play an important role in breastfeeding success rates. The CDC reports that hospitals are taking steps to keep mothers and babies together after birth and that this “room in” policy (mother and baby being in the room together for at least 23 hours a day) has increased in hospitals by about 7 percent between 2007 and 2011.

Janet L. Collins, Ph.D., director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, discussed the importance of early breastfeeding in the hospital. She said, “The period right after a baby is born is a critical time for establishing breastfeeding. Rooming in and skin-to-skin contact help ensure that mothers and babies stay together and are able to start and continue breastfeeding. These are meaningful steps hospitals can take to support mothers and families and help improve breastfeeding rates.”

For more on this press release see:

photo credit: Mothering Touch/Flickr