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

3 Out of 4 New Moms Breastfeed

Less Than Half of Breastfed Babies Are Still Breastfed at 6 Months
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Sept. 13, 2010 -- Three out of four new mothers in the U.S. start out breastfeeding their newborns, but less than half are still breastfeeding by the time their babies are 6 months old.

A new nationwide report from the CDC shows the percentage of new mothers who initiate breastfeeding at birth is rising steadily and varies widely from state to state: ranging from a high of 90% in Utah to a low of 52.5% in Mississippi.

Although those breastfeeding initiation figures meet the nation's Healthy People 2010 goals, researchers found the number of babies who continue to be breastfed at 6 months and 12 months has remained below target levels for the third year in a row.

Breastfed Babies: The Numbers

The CDC's 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card is based on survey data collected in 2007. It shows that only 43% of babies are still breastfeeding at six months and 22% continue to breastfeed at 12 months.

“We need to direct even more effort toward making sure mothers have the support they need in hospitals, workplaces, and communities to continue breastfeeding beyond the first few days of life, so they can make it to those 6- and 12-month marks,” researcher William Dietz, MD, PhD, director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, says in a news release.

The percentage of mothers who continued breastfeeding at six months ranged from a high of 62% in Oregon to a low of 20% in Louisiana. At 12 months of age, breastfeeding rates ranged from nearly 40% in Oregon and Vermont to 8% in Mississippi.

Hospital Care Helps Mothers Breastfeed

Researchers say high breastfeeding initiation rates show that a lot of mothers plan to breastfeed, but birth facilities aren't doing enough to support them in these efforts.

“Evidence shows that hospital routines can help or hinder mothers and babies as they are learning to breastfeed," says researcher Carol MacGowan, public health advisor for CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. "The care that mothers receive from hospitals should always be based on practices that are proven to help them continue breastfeeding after they go home.”

The report shows that less than 4% of births in the U.S. occur at facilities designated as Baby-Friendly, a designation program that outlines 10 steps to support breastfeeding implemented by Baby-Friendly USA on behalf of the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

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