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More Florida mothers are breastfeeding, data shows

Posted: 8/3/2018

PENSACOLA, Fla. — World Breastfeeding Week is observed Aug. 1-7. This year, there’s a lot to celebrate. Breastfeeding rates in the U.S. improved nationwide, including in Florida between 2007 and 2016, according to the latest Center for Disease Control Breastfeeding Report Card data with a 3.2 percent increase for Florida moms who say they have ever breastfeed their baby.

Breastfeeding progress (Florida)   2007    2014
Ever breastfed74.476.1
Breastfeeding exclusively at 3 months29.540.3
Breastfeeding at 6 months 36.848.6
Breastfeeding exclusively at 6 months10.124.3
Breastfeeding at 12 months 16.727.9
Supplemented breastfeeding with formula within 2 days 30.412
Supplemented breastfeeding with formula before 3 months37.126.4
Supplemented breastfeeding with formula before 6 months45.328.4

In addition to more women breastfeeding, Florida women are breastfeeding longer into the baby’s first year of life, and fewer Florida women are supplementing with formula.

“Research shows that breastfeeding offers many health benefits for both the infant and mother,” says Catherine Brooks, RN, IBCLC, lead lactation consultant at the Sacred Heart Maternity and Women’s Center. “In addition to helping mother and baby bond, studies show breastfeeding infants exclusively during the first six months helps protect them against illnesses and allergies, promotes good oral and facial development, and decreases the risk for sudden infant death syndrome.”

The Sacred Heart Maternity and Women’s Center in Pensacola is Northwest Florida’s only birth facility designated as Baby Friendly by Baby-Friendly USA, a global program that was launched by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund. This means that local mothers have access to the highest level of breastfeeding support and education available.

Sacred Heart offers the following tips to increase the success of breastfeeding:

  1. Choose a doctor for your baby prior to delivery so you may discuss how they can support your breastfeeding and provide the healthiest start for your baby.
  2. Consider working with a certified lactation consultant before leaving the hospital and contact them if you encounter any complications after discharge.  
  3. Skin-to-skin contact helps with breastfeeding but is recommended for all babies regardless of feeding choice.
  4. Be sure to get enough rest, eat nutritious foods and drink plenty of liquids.

To speak with a lactation consultant at Sacred Heart to discuss the benefits of breastfeeding, please call 850-416-6378 (NEST).

Delivering more than 3,900 babies each year, the Sacred Heart Maternity and Women’s Center is the most preferred childbirth facility in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties and offers the area’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, OB Emergency Care Center and high-risk pregnancy unit. For information about the Sacred Heart Maternity and Women’s Center, please visit


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