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CDC: Breastfeeding Rates Increasing in United States

Seventy-seven percent of infants begin breastfeeding; rates up at six and 12 months

THURSDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- More than three-quarters of infants begin breastfeeding, and rates at six and 12 months have increased since 2000, according to a report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers from the CDC compiled data to examine trends in breastfeeding on a state-by-state basis.

According to the report, 77 percent of U.S. infants begin breastfeeding. From 2000 to 2010 the breastfeeding rate at six months increased from 35 to 49 percent, and at 12 months the increase was from 16 to 27 percent. From 2007 to 2011 there was an increase in the percent of facilities where at least 90 percent of infants received skin-to-skin contact after vaginal birth (from 40.8 to 54.4 percent) and an increase in the percent of facilities where at least 90 percent of mothers and babies stayed in the same room throughout their stay (from 30.8 to 37.1 percent).

"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," Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC, said in a statement. "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."

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