Breastfeeding rates in Florida drop significantly

Florida’s breastfeeding rates have declined significantly over the course of one year, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control’s newly released 2013 Breastfeeding Report Card. The results were published at the close of World Breastfeeding Week, a week dedicated to the awareness and support of breastfeeding.

The report card revealed breastfeeding rates in Florida dropped in all categories from 2012 to 2013. The percentage of mothers who ever breastfed decreased by 6.8 percent, mothers who breastfed at six months decreased 11.5 percent, mothers who breastfed at 12 months decreased 33.6 percent, mothers who exclusively breastfed at three months dropped 25 percent and mothers who exclusively breastfed at six months dropped 45 percent.

The number of babies born in Baby-Friendly Facilities also declined — from 2.93 percent in 2012, to 2.58 percent in 2013. Florida is home to three Baby-Friendly Facilities. The Naval Hospital on the NAS Jax Naval base is the only Baby-Friendly Hospital in Northeast Florida.

In 2009 the Northeast Florida Breastfeeding Collaborative was started to improve the number of women who begin to breastfeed and continue to breastfeed, by promoting and supporting improved policies and practices in healthcare facilities.

Encouragement and support for breastfeeding women is important. Breastfeeding support can be found by a lactation consultant at a delivering hospital, the Northeast Florida La Leche League and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.