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Hospitals Have Improved Breastfeeding Support, CDC Says

The number of hospitals that offer new moms breastfeeding support has risen in recent years.

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Many U.S. hospitals are doing a better job of promoting breastfeeding, according to the new Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report found that there has been a significant increase in the number of hospitals using the "Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding," which is considered the global standard for supporting moms who are new to breastfeeding. Specifically, 54 percent of hospitals are using this standard, based on the most recent data, compared to just 29 percent in 2007.

Breastfeeding has immense health benefits for babies and their mothers," said CDC director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H, in a press release. He added that the rise in support at hospitals is helping to ensure that every newborn has the best possible start in life.

Hospitals that abide by the 10-step standard are considered to be "baby-friendly" hospitals. Currently, 14 percent of the four million babies born each year are born in a baby-friendly hospital. Although this statistic has tripled in recent years, the report notes that it still remains low.

What happens in the hospital can determine whether a mom starts and continues to breastfeed, and we know that many moms–60 percent–stop breastfeeding earlier than they'd like," noted Cria Perrine, Ph.D., epidemiologist in CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter:@CAITYstjohn.

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