Breastfeeding in The United States

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The percentage of infants who were ever breastfed increased from 60% among infants who were born in 1993-1994 to 77% among infants who were born in 2005-2006. Breastfeeding rates increased significantly among non-Hispanic black women from 36% in 1993-1994 to 65% in 2005-2006. Breastfeeding rates in 1999-2006 were significantly higher among those with higher-income (74%) compared with those who had lower-income (57%). Breastfeeding rates among mothers 30 years and older were significantly higher than those of younger mothers.

There was no significant change in the rate of breastfeeding at 6 months of age for infants born between 1993 and 2004. Human milk is the ideal food for most infants. Breastfeeding benefits infants and their mothers. Breastfed infants receive anti-bodies from breast milk, which protect against infection in the early postpartum period, and breastfeeding is less expensive than formula feeding.

This report summarizes information on breastfeeding rates in the United States based on data from the 1999-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). Results are reported for the total U.S. Population and three race-ethnic groups by birth year cohort.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics 3311 Toledo Road, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782, USA.

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