Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Baby

Font Size

Breastfeeding Rates Vary Widely by State

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

Breastfeeding by State continued...

According to the survey, only six states -- Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington -- met all of the following Healthy People 2010 objectives for breastfeeding:

  • 75% of new mothers initiate breastfeeding.
  • 50% continued to breastfeed for at least six months.
  • 25% continued to breastfeed for at least 12 months.

Fourteen states met the first objective of having at least 75% of new mothers initiate breastfeeding. The top five states in this category were Oregon (88%), Washington (88%), Utah (85.5%), Idaho (83.8%), and California (83.7%).

Eight states met the second goal of having 25% or more of mothers continuing to breastfeed for at least 12 months. The top states in this category were Hawaii (31%), Vermont (30%), and Alaska (28.9%).

Researchers also found that lower-income mothers and non-Hispanic black mothers had consistently lower rates of breastfeeding compared with others.

Breastfeeding Benefits Mother and Baby

"It's important for new and expectant mothers to know that breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and young babies. It's inexpensive, convenient, and it's uniquely tailored to meet all of a baby's nutritional needs for the first six months of life," says William Dietz, MD, director of CDC's division of nutrition and physical activity, in the release. "Also, breastfed babies tend to gain less unnecessary weight that can contribute to overweight and obesity later in life."

Researchers say breast milk contains valuable antibodies that can protect infants from infection. Babies who are breastfed also have less frequent diarrhea and fewer ear infections and respiratory infections.

Mothers who breastfeed also burn more calories, which makes it easier for them to return to their pre-pregnancy weight. Research also shows women who breastfeed have lower rates of certain breast and ovarian cancers.

1 | 2

Baby's First Year Newsletter

Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

Today on WebMD

mother on phone holding baby
When you should call 911.
parents and baby
Unexpected ways your life will change.
baby acne
What’s normal – and what’s not.
baby asleep on moms shoulder
Help your baby get the sleep he needs.

mother holding baby at night
mother with sick child
Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
Track Your Babys Vaccines
Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
Woman holding feet up to camera
Father kissing newborn baby
baby gear slideshow