The percentage of New Jersey babies who were being breastfed when they were 6 months old in 2011, according to an annual breastfeeding report card by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
This represents a significant increase from the 2010 figures included in last year’s report, when the 6-month-old breastfeeding percentage stood at 47.4 percent. The change moved the state from being below the national average to being above average.
The state also saw increases in breastfeeding at 12 months, as well as the percentage of babies who were exclusively breastfed at 3 months and 6 months; and the percentage of babies who have ever been breastfed, which stands at 81.6 percent.
State Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd has made breastfeeding a priority. In 2011, 10 maternity hospitals across the state received $10,000 each from the state to support the implementation of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, which encourages hospitals to promote and support breastfeeding. The state this year introduced new hospital regulations that further encourage the practice.