NH DHHS - 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card Gives New Hampshire an A+

Three out of Four New Moms Initiate Breastfeeding

Concord, NH – According to the 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card, recently released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 78.6 percent of new mothers in New Hampshire initiate breastfeeding with their babies. This meets the nation’s Healthy People 2010 goal. Half of states have now achieved this benchmark, one of the efforts to improve the health of children in the United States.

“It is a great accomplishment that New Hampshire has met all the Healthy People 2010 goals for breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of the Division of Public Health Services. “It is well established that breastfeeding has a protective factor against childhood obesity and overweight, compared with babies who are exclusively bottle fed. The Division of Public Health Services is striving to help new mothers make an informed choice to breastfeed their babies.”

While initiation rates have risen steadily, the number of babies who continue breastfeeding until six months and twelve months of age remains stagnant for the third consecutive year. Only 43 percent are still breastfeeding at six months and only 22 percent are breastfeeding at 12 months nationally. New Hampshire is doing slightly better than the national average, with 50 percent breastfeeding at six months and 25.9 percent at twelve months. New Hampshire is also above the national average for exclusive breastfeeding at three and six months, 47.2 percent and 18.8 percent, respectively.

Less than 4 percent of U.S. births occur at facilities designated as Baby-Friendly, a designation program implemented by Baby-Friendly USA on behalf of the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The program outlines 10 steps that support the initiation of breastfeeding and identifies hospitals that meet internationally recognized health care quality standards for maternity and breastfeeding support.

The 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card also provides data from a CDC survey that measures every U.S. hospital’s maternity practices in infant nutrition and care. The survey finds that the average State Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition (mPINC) score is 65 out of a possible 100 points awarded for supportive maternity care. Scores range from 81 in New Hampshire to 50 in Mississippi.

“Although New Hampshire had an mPINC of 81, the highest score, tied with Rhode Island, we still have a lot of work to do,” said Dr. Montero. “With only three Baby-Friendly hospitals in our State, and 16 percent of the births in New Hampshire occurring at these hospitals, we recognize the role hospitals have in initiating a successful breastfeeding routine and we want to work with them to improve upon our rates.”

The CDC 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card provides both national- and state-level data that will enable communities to monitor breastfeeding progress. The report is available at www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/data/reportcard.htm  For more information about breastfeeding, visit the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services website at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/nhp/wic/breastfeeding.htm and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding.