Breastfeeding conveys advantages to both infants and their mothers. For young children, breastfeeding is associated with numerous benefits, including reduced rates of disease, overweight, and obesity. Breastfeeding is also associated with positive outcomes for the breastfeeding parent, including reduced rates of breast and ovarian cancers. The skin-to-skin contact in breastfeeding improves oxytocin levels and breastfeeding parents report higher rates of attachment. Experts recommend that babies are breastfed throughout the first year of life.
For the percentage of infants who are ever breastfed, the denominator is the number of toddlers ages 19-35 months in 2019. The numerator is the number of that group who were ever breastfed, according to parent’s report.
For the percentage of infants breastfed at 6 months, the denominator is the number of toddlers ages 19-35 months in 2019. The numerator is the number of that group who were breastfed for any amount of time at six months of age, according to the mother’s report.
For the State of Babies Yearbook: 2022, the State of Babies Yearbook: 2021 and the State of Babies Yearbook: 2020, we calculated data based on the National Immunization Survey (NIS), whereas for the State of Babies Yearbook: 2019, information was obtained from the CDC Breastfeeding Report Card. For both indicators, the NIS estimates presented may not line up with estimates published by the CDC, as the published estimates are based on a birth cohort. The public-use data does not have the information needed to calculate birth cohort estimates.
This indicator can be disaggregated by race/ethnicity and income. Race/ethnicity: Survey respondents, who are likely the child’s parent or caregiver, reported the toddler’s race. The public-use file includes the following categories: Hispanic, non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic other. The non-Hispanic other category includes Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, other races, and multiple races. These are the race/ethnicity categories presented with the indicator; however, the other and multiple race categories are very limited as they are an amalgamation of many different cultures. Income. NIS reports family income-to-poverty ratios based on family income, number of persons in the household, number of children in the household, and the 2018 Census poverty thresholds. The imputed income-to-poverty ratio is used for the State of Babies Yearbook: 2022. Families with an income-to-poverty ratio less than 2 are considered low-income. Those with values greater than 2 are considered “not low-income.”
Office on Women’s Health (OWH) (2019). Making the decision to breastfeed. https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/making-decision-breastfeed Health Services and Resources Administration (2020). Understanding breastfeeding benefits. https://mchb.hrsa.gov/maternal-child-health-topics/understanding-breastfeeding-benefits Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Recommendations and benefits. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/breastfeeding/recommendations-benefits.html Health Services and Resources Administration (2020). Understanding breastfeeding benefits. https://mchb.hrsa.gov/maternal-child-health-topics/understanding-breastfeeding-benefits Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Recommendations and benefits. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/breastfeeding/recommendations-benefits.html
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (2021). The 2019 National Immunization Survey – Child [Dataset]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/Vaccines_NIS/NISPUF19.DAT