Breast Feeding

More US hospitals are encouraging breast-feeding, report says

REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

 (REUTERS/Christinne Muschi)

Health officials say more hospitals are encouraging new mothers to breast-feed. 

A new report found nearly two-thirds of hospitals in 2013 helped women start breast-feeding within an hour after birth. That's up from 44 percent six years earlier.

Roughly 90 percent of hospitals teach moms breast-feeding techniques and how to recognize and respond to infant feeding cues.

But only about a quarter refrain from giving infants breast milk alternatives - like formula or water - unless medically necessary.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed about 2,700 hospitals for the report released Tuesday.

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Overall, about 80 percent of U.S. babies breast-feed, at least briefly.