The CDC press release announces:
This project will address the need to improve hospital practices to support breastfeeding by helping hospitals move toward Baby-Friendly status. The core of the Baby-Friendly Initiative are the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a bundle of science-based practices established by the World Health Organization and UNICEF as global criteria to improve breastfeeding rates. These criteria are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“We know that breastfeeding rates are higher in Baby-Friendly hospitals, yet only 5 percent of babies in this country are born in these facilities,” said William H. Dietz, MD, Ph.D., director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. “We need to help hospitals improve their maternity care to better support breastfeeding. This project takes steps to do that, and it offers real solutions to improve the health of mothers and babies.”
As of last year, the U.S. had only 94 Baby Friendly hospitals, while the rest of the world has nearly 15,000. (For fun, check out this list of the number of Baby Friendly hospitals by country. Ecuador alone has 141, and China has over 6,000.) Moms in the U.S. are almost guaranteed to give birth in hospitals that do not follow the Ten Steps. In fact, CDC data shows that only 8.1% of mothers deliver in hospitals that follow just six of the Ten Steps.
Fortunately, the number of Baby Friendly hospitals is increasing. We have a long way to go, and I'm very pleased to see the CDC supporting and promoting this initiative.