March 1, 2012
Almost 96 percent of Monterey County mothers do at least some breastfeeding during their short hospital stay after giving birth, according to a new report from the California WIC Association and the UC Davis Lactation Center. Almost 70 percent of that is "exclusive," meaning newborns aren't given any form of supplemental nutrition.
Compared with other California counties, that rate isn't such a big whoop. Monterey County falls 23rd of 50 in the study's ranking of in-hospital breastfeeding rates.
In first place is Nevada County, with an 88 percent in-hospital exclusive breastfeeding rate. The booby prize (so to speak) goes to Colusa County, with a less than 9 percent.
The gap in exclusive breastfeeding rates is greatest in hospitals serving low-income mothers and babies, the report finds.
"By improving policies, including maternity care practices, hospitals can dramatically increase their breastfeeding rates," WIC states. "Breastfeeding success is dependent on the support of hospital staff support during those first critical 24 to 72 hours, especially for mothers facing early challenges."