CDC: Hospitals Do Not Support Breastfeeding Enough

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a report stating that 80 percent of American hospitals supplement breastfeeding with formula when not medically necessary, which undermines recommendations from the American Academy and Pediatrics, the CDC, and the World Health Organization, all of which encourage that mothers exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of a baby’s life.

Fewer than 4 percent of American hospitals offer new mothers adequate support services to encourage breastfeeding, the report stated.  Many hospitals send mothers home with free samples of formula and bottles provided by formula makers, and many fail to maintain a lactation support staff to help mothers learn to breastfeed comfortably.  From

The report comes a day after the announcement of new federal guidelines that mandates insurance companies provide free breast pumps and lactation support to nursing mothers after they leave the hospital.

Breast milk, which is rich in antibodies, helps reduce the risk of childhood ear infections and diarrhea and has been linked to a lower risk of childhood obesity — possibly due to the nutritional content of the milk or the fact that breastfed infants are better able to self-regulate their intake compared with those fed from a bottle. Breastfeeding mothers enjoy a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

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  1. by Markeeta

    On August 4, 2011 at 8:05 am

    I agree they don’t support us enough. When my son was born he had trouble staying latched. I told the nurses who called in the “lactation” consultant. She watched him latch said I was fine and left. I told the nurses she didn’t stay long enough and he was getting enough to eat. Turns out I was right and I ended up having no choice but to supplement, which if she had helped me the first day might not have happened. Then because of the supplementing my supplied dried up fast and he only breastfeed for 6 weeks. I know it’s better than not at all but it was not what I wanted and could have been prevented. Now we are waiting on our second to arrive in November and my first experience and his eating trouble has made me afraid to even try breastfeeding!

  2. by Allison

    On August 4, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Markeeta, don’t be discouraged to try breastfeeding again! I had a very tough time breastfeeding my son and ended up simply pumping for four months and that still had to be supplemented. My daughter breastfed effortlessly and she really shouldn’t have considering that she was in the NICU for the first 4 days and I couldn’t even hold her until she was 48 hrs old and even then she sill had a feeding tube.

    Though I live in Canada, breastfeeding support here is spotty. It depends on your nurse in the hospital and it depends on the lactation consultant sent to your room. There is follow up at clinics but the times and locations are not the most convenient, esp. when there are older children in the family. Of course there is always the option of paying an expensive fee for a private consultant.

    When my son was born, the nurse in recovery took one look at my chest and said ‘Oh, this won’t work, I’ll get a bottle’. Apparently I did not have optimum breastfeeding breasts. Still I was determined, so while I supplemented my son, I only did so after trying to breastfeed and then I followed that up with pumping. The consultant in the hospital was somewhat helpful, but even with following her tips, we did not see much change. He would latch sometimes, but not others.

    Our home visit by a consultant provided more tips, most of all was that my output was not nearly what it should have been. Perhaps this had been one of the major issues? Why latch if there is not enough food? I insisted that my doctor put me on domperidone the next day at my son’s one week appt.

    This medication helped immensely and I saw a huge increase in milk production, however by waiting a week, I was only able to produce a good amount of milk for about four months. Even then, the damage had been done and my son would only latch on occasion. Due to the difficulties, I found it easiest to bottle feed and pump.

    When our daughter was born premature, I was afraid that breastfeeding was going to be an issue as I couldn’t even hold her, let alone feed her. I started pumping the afternoon after she was born and pumped every two hours without fail. Every two hours I would trek back to the NICU carrying a syringe or bottle with what I had produced so they could feed her through her tube. I insisted that the doctors put me on domperidone in the hospital based on past experience. When I was allowed to hold my daughter, and try to feed her, again a nurse looked at me and said ‘this isn’t going to work’. My daughter immediately latched on and feed well.

    I continued the medication and the pumping for the first 4 months or so. Even then while I would not pump after every feed, I would pump after 3 or 4 feedings each day. We would freeze the milk and keep some so my husband could try to feed her on occasion. I was able to successfully feed her until she was about 5 1/2 months. I could have maybe done longer if I had kept up the medication. As it was I took until she was six months to fully wean her and then I had her on breast milk bottles half time and formula half time until I ran out of frozen milk.

    The tips I picked up along the way from various people:

    Start pumping right away…and pump both sides at the same time.

    Breastfeed on both sides at each feeding.

    Follow this up with pumping. This tricks your body into thinking it is feeding twins and helps to produce more milk.

    Sometimes a nipple shield can help with a good latch.

    Domperidone can help to increase milk production.

    Good luck!

  3. by Steph

    On September 6, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I feel because I was a young(age 19) single mom they ignored my help requests. I was not ever asked or told there was help at the hospital. Thankfully I had a supportive family and was able to breastfeed for the entire first year.

  4. by Alyssa

    On September 6, 2011 at 9:19 am

    When I had my daughter, I was bombarded with breastfeeding information and help to the point where is was very overwhelming and I had to ask them to stop. As a matter of a fact, nothing was even mentioned of bottle/formula feeding until my daughter refused to breastfeed.