Progress in Increasing Breastfeeding and Reducing Racial/Ethnic Differences — United States, 2000–2008 Births
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Progress in Increasing Breastfeeding and Reducing Racial/Ethnic Differences — United States, 2000–2008 Births

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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
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    The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes breastfeeding and human milk as the "normative Standards for infant feeding." Given the documented health benefits, the Academy recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding for at least 12 months as complementary foods are introduced. To better understand Trends during 2000-2008 and differences in breastfeeding initiation and duration overall and among black, white, and Hispanic infants born in 2000 and 2008, CDC analyzed National Immunization Survey (NIS) data. Among infants born in 2000, 70.3% had ever breastfed (had breastfeeding initiated), 34.5% breastfed for 6 months, and 16.0% breastfed for 12 months. Among infants born in 2008, the comparable percentages had increased to 74.6%, 44.4%, and 23.4%, respectively. By race/ethnicity, prevalence of breastfeeding initiation in 2000 was 47.4% among blacks, 71.8% among whites, and 77.6% among Hispanics. By 2008, the percentage of infants who ever breastfed had increased among blacks to 58.9% and among whites to 75.2%; an 80.0% prevalence among Hispanics did not amount to a statistically significant increase. From 2000 to 2008, breastfeeding at 6 and 12 months increased significantly among all three racial/ethnic populations. Although the gap between black and white breastfeeding initiation narrowed, black infants still had the lowest prevalences of breastfeeding initiation and duration, highlighting the need for targeted interventions in this population to promote and support breastfeeding. Despite increases in the prevalence of breastfeeding, fewer than half of the infants in the survey were still breastfeeding at 6 months, indicating that women who choose to breastfeed their infants need support to continue breastfeeding.
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