Breastfeeding

The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grants to States Program has established 15 National Performance Measures for the 2015-2017 grant cycle. Performance Measure 4 is the percent of infants who were ever breastfed. This evidence brief points to a selection of resources for state MCH programs on increasing the percent of infants breastfed, with an emphasis on evidence based information.

Significance

The Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant to States Program guidance1 defines the significance of this goal as follows:
Advantages of breastfeeding are indisputable. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all infants (including premature and sick newborns) exclusively breastfeed for about six months as human milk supports optimal growth and development by providing all required nutrients during that time. Breastfeeding strengthens the immune system, improves normal immune response to certain vaccines, offers possible protection from allergies, and reduces probability of SIDS. Research demonstrates breastfed children may be less likely to develop juvenile diabetes; and may have a lower risk of developing childhood obesity, and asthma; and tend to have fewer dental cavities throughout life. The bond of a nursing mother and child is stronger than any other human contact. A woman's ability to meet her childs nutritional needs improves confidence and bonding with the baby and reduces feelings of anxiety and postnatal depression. Increased release of oxytocin while breastfeeding, leads to a reduction in post-partum hemorrhage and quicker return to a normal sized uterus over time, mothers who breastfeed may be less likely to develop breast, uterine and ovarian cancer and have a reduced risk of developing osteoporosis.

Read More about Performance Measure 4

Performance Measure 4

A) Percent of infants who are ever breastfed and B) Percent of infants breastfed exclusively through 6 months

Goal

To increase the proportion of infants who are breastfed and who are breastfed at six months

Definition

Numerator: A) Number of infants who were ever breastfed and B) Number of infants breastfed exclusively through 6 months

Denominator: A) All infants born in a calendar year and B) All infants born in a calendar year

Units: 100

Text: Percent

Healthy People 2020 Objective

Related to Maternal, Infant, and Child Health (MICH) Objective 21.1: Increase the proportion of children who are ever breastfed (Baseline: 74% in 2006, Target: 81.9%)

Related to Maternal, Infant, and Child Health (MICH) Objective 21.5: Increase the proportion of children who are breastfed exclusively (Baseline: 14.1% in 2006, Target: 25.5%)

Data Sources and Data Issues

CDCs National Immunization Survey (NIS)

Data and Statistics

Key Websites

Policy Recommendations

Interventions

Related NCEMCH Resources


1Health Resources and Services Administration. 2014. Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant to States Program: Guidance and Forms for the Title V Application/Annual Report, Appendix F, p. 77.


Percent of Infants Breastfed: Evidence Brief, 1st ed. (November 2014).

Author: Beth DeFrancis, M.L.S., NCEMCH