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    Breastfeeding Rates Vary Widely by State

    National Average for Breastfeeding at Least 6 Months Is Less Than 15%

    WebMD Health News

    Aug. 5, 2004 -- The number of new mothers who start breastfeeding their infants and stick with it for six months or more varies widely from state to state in the U.S., according to a new CDC report.

    The study shows the national average for exclusive breastfeeding for six months in 2003 was 14.2%, and only Oregon had an exclusive-breastfeeding rate of more than 25% at six months.

    It's the first time the CDC has released state-by-state data on breastfeeding rates.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively -- with no baby formula -- for the first six months of life. To see how your state fared on this recommendation, see the table below.

    State

    Exclusive Breastfeeding1
    at 6 Months

    Alabama

    11%

    Alaska

    20%

    Arizona

    17%

    Arkansas

    7%

    California

    16%

    Colorado

    15%

    Connecticut

    15%

    Delaware

    10%

    District Of Columbia

    13%

    Florida

    14%

    Georgia

    14%

    Hawaii

    21%

    Idaho

    24%

    Illinois

    11%

    Indiana

    12%

    Iowa

    12%

    Kansas

    16%

    Kentucky

    10%

    Louisiana

    7%

    Maine

    19%

    Maryland

    17%

    Massachusetts

    14%

    Michigan

    13%

    Minnesota

    22%

    Mississippi

    5%

    Missouri

    12%

    Montana

    21%

    Nebraska

    13%

    Nevada

    12%

    New Hampshire

    17%

    New Jersey

    18%

    New Mexico

    13%

    New York

    14%

    North Carolina

    12%

    North Dakota

    16%

    Ohio

    15%

    Oklahoma

    9%

    Oregon

    27%

    Pennsylvania

    13%

    Rhode Island

    13%

    South Carolina

    14%

    South Dakota

    15%

    Tennessee

    12%

    Texas

    12%

    Utah

    22%

    Vermont

    24%

    Virginia

    16%

    Washington

    21%

    West Virginia

    7%

    Wisconsin

    16%

    Wyoming

    13%

    1 Exclusive breastfeeding is defined in this study as only breastmilk and water - no solids or other liquids.

    Source: 2003 National Immunization Survey, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services

    "With this new information, state health departments can compare the breastfeeding rates in their states and communities with national objectives," says Donna Stroup, PhD, acting director of the CDC's Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, in a news release. "The information will help agencies concentrate their efforts where they are most needed and develop targeted programs to promote breastfeeding."

    Breastfeeding by State

    The information in the report was gathered from the CDC's 2003 National Immunization Survey which surveyed mothers in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and selected geographic regions within the states.

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