African American mothers need more support
In addition to increases among all groups, gaps in breastfeeding rates between African American and white mothers are narrowing. The gap narrowed from 24 percentage points in 2000 to 16 percentage points in 2008.
"Breastfeeding is good for the mother and for the infant - and the striking news here is, hundreds of thousands more babies are being breastfed than in past years, and this increase has been seen across most racial and ethnic groups," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "Despite these increases, many mothers who want to breastfeed are still not getting the support they need from hospitals, doctors, or employers. We must redouble our efforts to support mothers who want to breastfeed."
While gaps continue to narrow among groups, more targeted strategies to increase breastfeeding support for African American mothers are still needed. To address this, CDC is currently funding Best-Fed Beginnings, a project that provides support to 89 hospitals, many serving minority and low income populations, to improve hospital practices that support breastfeeding mothers. CDC has also recently awarded funds to six state health departments to develop community breastfeeding support systems in communities of color.
To better understand breastfeeding trends and differences among African American, white and Hispanic infants born from 2000 to 2008, CDC analyzed National Immunization Survey data from 2002-2011. Other key findings of the report include:
-- From 2000 to 2008, breastfeeding at six and twelve months increased
significantly among African American, white and Hispanic infants.
-- While numbers are rising across all groups, all mothers need more
support to continue breastfeeding since less than half of mothers are
breastfeeding at six months (45 percent) and less than a quarter of
mothers (23 percent) are breastfeeding at twelve months.
-- Although rates of breastfeeding at six months increased by more than 13
percent among African American mothers, this group still had the lowest
rates of breastfeeding duration, indicating that they still need more,
For more information about CDC efforts to improve support for breastfeeding mothers, specifically hospital practices to support breastfeeding, visit http://www.cdc.gov/
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting people from health threats to have a more secure nation. Whether these threats are chronic or acute, manmade or natural, human error or deliberate attack, global or domestic, CDC is the U.S. health protection agency.
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