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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Blog arrow BREAST-FEEDING POORLY SUPPORTED IN HOSPITALS
BREAST-FEEDING POORLY SUPPORTED IN HOSPITALS
On June 12 2008 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that most U.S. hospitals don't do very well when it comes to promoting breast-feeding. In the first national report to look at the issue, the average hospital scored 63 out of 100.

States in New England and on the West Coast scored highest, and the South did the worst. Vermont and New Hampshire topped the list, tied with a score of 81. Arkansas had the poorest score with a 48. The survey discovered that practices unfriendly to breast-feeding were common throughout the country.

Almost 25% of hospitals reported giving formula or some other supplement to more than half of their healthy, full-term newborns. Even when mothers were able and willing to breast-feed this practice was common. Of the hospitals that gave supplements, 30% gave sugar water and 15% gave water. There is no sound nutritional reason to use either one of fluids in place of mother's milk. Often these are given to quiet a crying baby that could otherwise be nursing contentedly.

This research was based on questionnaires filled out in 2007 by about 2,700 U.S. maternity hospitals and birth centers. Hospitals were scored on supportive efforts, like offering breast-feeding tips and keeping the mother and the infant together. They also were evaluated on practices detrimental to breast-feeding, like including infant formula samples in gift packs for mothers or using supplemental feedings. Both of which interfere with breast-feeding by willing moms.

The highest score for a hospital or birth center was 98; the lowest was 12. The CDC did not release individual scores.

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