Report: Breast-Feeding Rates Depends on Hospital

Breast-feeding is erratic.

By Chris Roberts
|  Monday, Jul 8, 2013  |  Updated 2:45 PM PDT
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Some Bay Area hospitals see 90 percent of new mothers choosing to breast-feed.

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There's one factor that may determine if a breast-feeding infant is fed with mother's milk or with formula.

The hospital.

A San Jose Mercury News investigation reveals that the rate of breast-feeding may depend upon the hospital where the mother gave birth.

Some hospitals, such as Kaiser Oakland, have a 90 percent breast-feeding rate, according to the newspaper. Other hospitals have only a 10 percent breast-feeding rate, the newspaper reported.

It is unclear why hospitals would have such different feeding policies, formula-friendly or otherwise mammalian in tendencies. But beginning in January, it will be state law for California hospitals to push breast-feeding: SB502, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, requires all hospitals to "have an infant feeding policy... that encourages exclusive breast-feeding," the newspaper reported.

The state average for breast-feeding is 60 percent, the newspaper reported, with many Bay Area hopsitals above that figure.

Some hospitals with high rates of feeding may have "tough love" policies with doctors and nurses informing tired mothers that formula is not the way out, the newspaper opined.

Some new mothers also say that nurses give conflicting or inconsistent information with breast-feeding, leading to confusion -- or painful experiences with nursing a child in the first few days of life, the newspaper reported.

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