October 08, 2015
1 min read

More hospitals providing ample breastfeeding support to mothers

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Since 2007, more hospitals across the country are providing better support for women who want to breastfeed, according to recently published data.

Breastfeeding has immense health benefits for babies and their mothers. More hospitals are better supporting new moms to breastfeed — every newborn should have the best possible start to life,” Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, CDC Director, said in a press release. 

Tom Frieden

Researchers from the CDC analyzed data from the Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care Survey to assess trends in hospital use of the CDC’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding practices and policies.

The Ten Steps program, which is designed to improve breastfeeding outcomes, measures how a hospital provides support for breastfeeding, before, during and after mother’s hospital stay. 

Results demonstrated that in 2013, 53.9% of hospitals were using at least half of the Ten Steps, compared with only 28.7% in 2007.

In 2007 and in 2013, more than 90% of hospitals provided women with breastfeeding education prior to delivery. In 2007, 88% taught women various breastfeeding techniques as did 92% in 2013. 

Implementation of six other steps from the program increased by 10 to 21 percentage points between 2007 and 2013.

Steps involving limiting non-breast milk liquids to breastfeeding infants and fostering support post-discharge only saw a 5-6 percentage point increase between 2007 and 2013. 

The researchers noted that while breastfeeding support has improved substantially, there is still a lot of work to be done.

[Breastfeeding programs] in hospitals can determine whether a mom starts and continues to breastfeed, and we know that many moms — 60% — stop breastfeeding earlier than they’d like. These improvements in hospital support for breastfeeding are promising, but we also want to see more hospitals fully supporting mothers who want to breastfeed. The Ten Steps help ensure that mothers get the best start with breastfeeding,” Cria Perrine, PhD, an epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, said in the release.  – by Casey Hower