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CDC Report Card Finds Breastfeeding Rates Still Fall Short

A new report card by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that breastfeeding rates still fall short of recommendations. 

More than four out of five infants in the U.S. begin life breastfeeding, but by six months that number drops to less than three in five, only a quarter of which breastfeed exclusively, as American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.

Breastfeeding offers several health benefits to infants, including reduced risks of asthma, obesity and type 2 diabetes, and can also help lower a mother's risks for hypertension, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

The report interprets these numbers to mean most mothers want to breastfeed but lack necessary social supports.

Arizona fell within a few percentage points of national averages, but ranked among the lowest rates of live births in baby-friendly facilities, which tailor care to lactating mothers and their babies. 

Nicholas Gerbis was a senior field correspondent for KJZZ from 2016 to 2024.