Breast-Feeding Rates Vary Significantly at Hospitals
Of California women who gave birth in 2006, 86% nursed their newborns in the hospital, according to a report released on Wednesday by the UC-Davis Human Lactation Center and the California WIC Association, the Los Angeles Times reports. WIC is a federally funded nutrition program for women, infants and children.
Half of women who nursed their newborns -- or 43% of the total -- fed their infants only breastmilk, while the other half supplemented with formula.
The percentage of women who exclusively breast-fed their newborns ranged from 1% or less at three hospitals to 93% at El Camino Hospital in Santa Clara. Hospitals with a rate of 1% or less included:
- Bellflower Medical Center;
- Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley; and
- Pacific Alliance Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Eight of the 15 lowest-rated hospitals for exclusive breast-feeding are in Los Angeles County, the Times reports.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend exclusive breast-feeding for at least the first six months. Studies have shown that breast- feeding newborns can reduce their risk for infection and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, as well as lower the mothers' risk for breast and ovarian cancer (Engel, Los Angeles Times, 11/14). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.