Nearly 77% of women throughout the United States now breast-feed their newborns, according to the latest figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC's "Breastfeeding Report Card — United States, 2012" tracks state and national trends in breast-feeding practices. The report uses data from the National ImmunizationSurvey, measured state by state, and compares those data with breast-feeding objectives outlined in the Healthy People program. Healthy People was established 3 decades ago by the US Department of Health and Human Services and sets 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. The Breastfeeding Report Card also takes into account other outcomes and process indicators.
According to the newly published report, "Breastfeeding initiation increased from 74.6% in 2008 to 76.9% in 2009 births." This is the largest annual increase in breast-feeding during the previous decade, according to the CDC.
The percentage of women breast-feeding at 6 months also improved, from 44.3% to 47.2%, as did the percentage of women breast-feeding at 12 months, going from 23.8% to 25.5%, the CDC reports.
The report also notes improvements in how many hospitals and birth centers support healthy breast-feeding practices.