What hospitals need to do when it comes to breastfeeding policies

A sign marks the entrance to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

(ABCNews) — We know it’s important for infants, but now a new look at whether hospitals are doing enough to encourage breastfeeding and the answer may surprise you.

Breastfeeding, not only great nutrition for your baby, but done exclusively in a baby’s first six months, we know it helps protect against childhood  infections and chronic disease in both moms and  babies. But new research suggesting hospitals need to start doing a better job promoting it. Researchers at the CDC, looking at ten different things hospitals can do to improve breastfeeding rates among new mothers.

The good news? Since 2007, more hospitals have taken steps to try to help women breastfeed, with at least 90 percent of hospitals now providing prenatal breastfeeding education and teaching breastfeeding techniques. Barely one in four hospitals in the country have an official policy on breastfeeding. And only about the same number limit the amount of free formula that is given to mothers when they leave the hospital.

Additionally, fewer than half of all hospitals keep babies with their mothers.  A practice that creates a bonding environment and increases opportunities for breastfeeding.

Bottom line for new moms. When it comes to breastfeeding, rather than depending on your hospital, take matters into your own hands.

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