Looks like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's summer reading list just got a little longer: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its 2012 Breastfeeding Report Card for the United States -- and it reveals the number of new mothers choosing to nurse is on the rise.
The CDC reports 76.9% of mothers initiated breastfeeding in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available. That represents a rise of about two-percentage points over 2008 when the rate was 74.6%. The uptick is certainly encouraging news given the well-documented short- and long-term health benefits breastfeeding can deliver to both mother and child.
Nursing news: Mom: Don't judge me for not breastfeeding!
Perhaps even more encouraging is the number of moms who are still breastfeeding at six months. No small feat considering the number who by then have returned to their jobs and face the additional challenge of balancing professional production and pumping. In 2009, the six-month number was 47.2%, up from 44.3% the year before.
The report also examines how well hospitals are doing at supporting breastfeeding among new mothers.
In its report card, the CDC writes that one of their primary goals is "improving the health of mothers and their children." It says, "Protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding, with its many known benefits for infants, children, and mothers, is a key strategy toward this goal."
Of course, some states are doing better (in some instances, much better) than others in this regard. You can check the stats for each state on page 2of the CDC report and look over who's doing the best and worst right here. And it doesn't take a professional demographer to detect some serious geographical differences.
Moms who ever breastfed - Top 5 states
Moms who ever breastfed - Bottom 5 states
West Virginia 55.1%
Moms breastfeeding at six months - Top 5 states
New Hampshire 60%
South Dakota 57.1%
Moms breastfeeding at six months - Bottom 5 states
West Virginia 28.1%
What do you think of the new report card? Encouraged? Still think there is work to do? Share your take in the comments.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonFromHLN