For Immediate Release
October 14, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Three out of Four New Moms Initiate Breastfeeding

Only 43 percent of babies still being breastfed at 6 months of age

Seventy-five percent of babies born in the United States in 2007 – over 3 million – started life breastfeeding, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card. The 75 percent breastfeeding initiation rate meets the nation’s Healthy People 2010 goal and half of the states, including Kansas, have breastfeeding initiation rates at or above 75 percent.  

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

Breastfeeding at six months of age in Kansas came in at 47 percent and at 12 months, was 20 percent.

“Meeting the national breastfeeding initiation goal is a great accomplishment in women’s and children’s health, but we have more work ahead,” said Roderick Bremby, KDHE Secretary. “We need to direct even more effort toward making sure mothers have the support they need in hospitals, workplaces and communities to continue breastfeeding beyond the first few days of life, so they can make it to those six and 12 month marks.”

The report card also looks at other factors affecting breastfeeding initiation and duration.  Studies show that offering formula in the hospital is a huge detriment to continued breastfeeding and erodes a mother’s confidence in her ability to breastfeed.  

“The report card shows that Kansas hospitals have decreased the percent of receiving formula before two days of age from 19.2 percent to 10.9 percent,” said Martha Hagen, KDHE Breastfeeding Coordinator for Nutrition and WIC Services. “Kansas hospitals should be congratulated on this decrease as this will improve the state’s breastfeeding duration rates.”

One step that Kansas has taken to help increase breastfeeding rates is creating the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition, (KBC). This is also one of the measurements of breastfeeding support for the state report card.  The KBC is currently implementing the Business Case for Breastfeeding Project to help employers across Kansas learn how to support their breastfeeding employees.  To learn more about the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition, Inc. and how to join or donate to this organization at http://ksbreastfeeding.org

Breastfeeding offers many benefits. Breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. And breast-fed babies are less likely to become overweight or obese children or adolescents compared to babies who are exclusively bottle-fed. The CDC Breastfeeding Report Card provides both national and state-level data which enable communities to monitor breastfeeding progress. The Breastfeeding Report Card is available at www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/data/reportcard.htm. For more information about breastfeeding visit www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding.