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Health Indicator Report of Breastfeeding Initiation

Human milk is important for normal infant growth and development and is recommended for the first year of life and beyond.


Missing and unknown responses are not included in percent calculations.

Data Source

Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology, Division of Family Health Services, New Jersey Department of Health, []


Percentage of mothers that reported ever initiating breastfeeding.


Number of mothers that reported ever initiating breastfeeding.


Total number of mothers that responded to the survey.

Healthy People Objective: Increase the proportion of infants who are breastfed: Ever

U.S. Target: 81.9 percent
State Target: 85.0 percent

How Are We Doing?

Breastfeeding initiation is increasing among New Jersey mothers and is most common among Asian mothers (95%), followed by Hispanic mothers (89%).

What Is Being Done?

The New Jersey Department of Health's [ Division of Family Health Services] calls on all medical providers to implement evidence-based practices to promote and support breastfeeding. The Division annually publishes the exclusive breastfeeding rates for all delivery hospitals. The report allows hospitals to compare their rates to other hospitals in their region. It provides pregnant women with information about which hospitals have better breastfeeding outcomes. In December, 2013, the Department adopted amended Hospital Licensing Standards that require hospitals to develop and implement written policies and procedures for identifying and supporting the needs of a breastfeeding mother and/or child at the point of entry into the facility, including the emergency department; written policies and procedures for the obstetrics unit that include competencies of obstetrics staff regarding infant feeding, distribution of printed materials about infant feeding, cultural competence of obstetrics staff, professional resources for use by obstetrics staff, formula supplementation, rooming-in, pacifier use, breastfeeding assistance, and labeling and storage of human milk and infant formula; and discharge planning. Hospitals are required to establish an interdisciplinary breastfeeding team and use evidence-based resources including "[ Implementing the Joint Commission Perinatal Care Core Measure on Exclusive Breastmilk Feeding]" regarding perinatal patient care that address allowing newborns to remain with the mother or primary caregiver during the first hour following delivery, performing newborn assessments while the newborn remains with the mother (unless contraindicated) and offer support and assistance to mothers who wish to breastfeed during the first hour after their infants' births. Other requirements include readily available breast pumps, and provision of a breast pump to a mother within four hours of her infant's separation from her, e.g., to the NICU, or ineffective breastfeeding; education and training for staff who provide breastfeeding care and staff ability to demonstrate proficiency in core competencies prior to providing related patient care; and establishment of an interdisciplinary breastfeeding team that represents various professional healthcare disciplines and lay groups. These Standards took effect on January 21, 2014, with the goal of increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates, improving health outcomes of mothers and infants, reducing childhood obesity rates, and containing healthcare costs. The [ WIC Program], which serves about half of the infants born in New Jersey, provides breastfeeding education to pregnant women and support services to breastfeeding women who participate in the Program. The Division of Family Health Services is working with the New Jersey Hospital Association and other partners to support hospitals to implement the [ Ten Steps to Success Breastfeeding} as outlined in a Joint WHO/UNICEF Statement and comply with the Hospital Licensing Standards.

Available Services

La Leche League provides mother-to-mother breastfeeding support. A local group can be found at [] NJDOH Breastfeeding Info: [] US Department of Health and Human Services Breastfeeding Info: [] National Breastfeeding Helpline in both English and Spanish: 1-800-994-9662
Page Content Updated On 11/28/2018, Published on 11/28/2018
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Fri, 05 June 2020 2:30:44 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

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