New Jersey women initiate breastfeeding at a 79.7 percent rate, above the national average of 76.9 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2012 Breastfeeding Report Card. The report found that 47.9 percent of New Jersey mothers were still breastfeeding, at least partially, at six months and 26.1 percent of mothers continued to breastfeed at one year. Mothers in the Garden State continued to breastfeed exclusively at a rate of 33 percent for children three months of age and 16 percent at six months of age.
Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd, who has taken a personal interest in the issue, released a statement saying that “breastfeeding support is an important strategy toward improving the health of New Jersey’s mothers and children.” The state has granted $100,000 to ten hospitals in New Jersey to encourage them to purse a “baby-friendly” designation, which are hospitals that promote and support breastfeeding. August 1-7 has been designated as World Breastfeeding Week.