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August 21, 2018

CDC: Most infants not breastfed for recommended length

Children's Health Breastfeeding
Baby_Bottle Lisa Johnson/Via

Most infants are not being exclusively breastfed for the recommended amount of time, according to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants drink only breast milk until they reach six months. But the CDC's 2018 Breastfeeding Report Card, released Monday, suggests that few infants only receive breast milk.

Although 83.2 percent of the 4 million babies born in 2015 started out breastfeeding, many stop earlier than the recommended mark.

Nearly 60 percent of infants were still breastfeeding when they reached six months, the report found. But only 25 percent of them were breastfeeding exclusively.

Breastfeeding lowers the risk of the infant developing asthma, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, ear and respiratory infections and sudden infant death syndrome. It also reduces the mother's risk of hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and ovarian and breast cancer.

According to the report, 46.9 percent of infants were exclusively breastfeeding at the three-month mark. By the time they reach 12 months, only 35.9 percent are breastfeeding at all.

Statistics from Pennsylvania and New Jersey essentially fell in line with the national rates.

In Pennsylvania, 83.8 percent of babies had breastfed at some point, though only 25.6 percent were exclusively breastfeeding when they reached six months.

In New Jersey, 82.8 percent of infants had breastfed, but only 24.4 were doing so exclusively at the six-month mark.

Read the full report here.

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