Receipt of Breast Milk by Gestational Age — United States, 2017
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Receipt of Breast Milk by Gestational Age — United States, 2017
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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
  • Description:
    Breast milk is the optimal source of infant nutrition. For the nearly one in 10 infants born prematurely in the United States annually (1), breast milk is especially beneficial, helping prevent sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis and promoting neurologic development (2). National estimates of newborn feeding practices by gestational age have not been available previously. CDC analyzed 2017 birth certificate data from 48 states and the District of Columbia (3,194,873; 82.7% of all births) to describe receipt of breast milk among extremely preterm (20-27 weeks), early preterm (28-33 weeks), late preterm (34-36 weeks), and term (≥37 weeks) infants with further stratification by maternal and infant characteristics. The prevalence of infants receiving any breast milk was 83.9% overall and varied by gestational age, with 71.3% of extremely preterm infants, 76.0% of early preterm infants, 77.3% of late preterm infants, and 84.6% of term infants receiving any breast milk. Disparities in receipt of breast milk by several sociodemographic factors, including maternal race/ethnicity, were noted across gestational age groups. These estimates suggest that many infants, particularly infants at high risk for medical complications, might not be receiving breast milk. Efforts are needed to increase the implementation of existing evidence-based policies and practices that support breast milk feeding, particularly for medically fragile infants (2,3).
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