CDC: Many Hospitals Do Not Fully Support Breastfeeding

Most do not offer full range of services needed to encourage mothers to breastfeed

TUESDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Only 4 percent of U.S. hospitals provide the complete range of support for mothers to learn, practice, and engage in breastfeeding, according to a Vital Signs report published in the Aug. 2 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Between 2007 and 2009, the CDC conducted a national survey of U.S. obstetric hospitals and birth centers to describe the prevalence of facilities using maternity care practices consistent with the World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative's "Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding."

Although the report revealed that staff members at most hospitals provided prenatal breastfeeding education (93 percent) and taught mothers breastfeeding techniques (89 percent) and feeding cues (82 percent) in 2009, only 14 percent of hospitals had a written, model breastfeeding policy and only 27 percent supported mothers post-discharge. In addition, the report also revealed that, in nearly 80 percent of hospitals, healthy breastfeeding infants were given formula when it was not medically necessary. Only one-third of hospitals practiced rooming-in, an approach that aids mothers and babies to learn to breastfeed by allowing frequent chances to breastfeed.

"Most U.S. hospitals have policies and practices that do not conform to international recommendations for best practices in maternity care and interfere with mothers' abilities to breastfeed," the authors write.

Full Text

Physician's Briefing