Exclusive Breast Milk Feeding

What is the exclusive breast milk feeding measure?

Too many women lack the support they need to get breastfeeding off to a good start. It’s not always easy, but breastfeeding offers important benefits to both mom and baby. Health professionals including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that babies be fed only breast milk for their first six months of life. The exclusive breast milk feeding measure reports the percentage of newborns who were fed only breast milk during their time in the hospital after birth. A higher score is better.

What does the exclusive breast milk feeding measure mean for me and my baby?

Breastfeeding has enormous benefits for both mom and baby, and not all of these benefits end when you stop nursing. Moms who breastfeed experience reduced rates of postpartum depression, Type 2 diabetes and ovarian and breast cancer. Benefits for babies include lower rates of SIDS*, leukemia, asthma, obesity and common infant infections.

Why do hospital breast milk feeding rates matter?

Rates of exclusive breast milk feeding vary from hospital to hospital. Exclusive breast milk feeding during the hospital stay is the first step for meeting longer exclusive breast milk feeding goals. Hospitals with higher breastfeeding rates often encourage healthy practices like rooming-in and skin-to-skin contact, and have supportive systems, processes and general environments conducive to breastfeeding.

What can I do with this information?

If it's important to you that your newborn be fed only breast milk, speak with your doctor or midwife and the hospital staff where you plan to give birth. Ask to nurse your baby immediately after birth and ask the staff not to give your baby water or formula. The exclusive breast milk feeding data on this site can help you find a hospital with policies and staff that make it easier for you to reach that goal.

What does the goal mean?

The Healthy People 2020 benchmark relevant to breastfeeding is “Breastfed newborns receiving formula supplementation within the first 2 days of life” and the target rate is 14.2%  https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/data-search/Search-the-Data#objid=4865    ExpectNY translates this to a target rate for feeding babies breastmilk exclusively in hospitals of 86%.

*Sudden Infant Death Syndrome