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Health Indicator Report of Feeding at Discharge

Breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for most infants. It can also reduce the risk for some short- and long-term health conditions for both infants and mothers.[ ^1^]


These data are for any breastfeeding: exclusive or in combination with formula. Data for White, Black, and Asian do not include Hispanics. Hispanic ethnicity includes persons of any race. 2000-2009 data by race/ethnicity are not comparable to data for 2010 and later due to the lack of race/ethnicity reporting from New York City prior to 2010.

Data Source

Birth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, New Jersey Department of Health

Data Interpretation Issues

Between July, 2014 and June, 2015, the New Jersey Department of Health rolled out a new birth certificate data collection system. In the old system, Feeding at Discharge was defined as "the type of feedings given in the 24 hours prior to discharge" with four possible entries: breast feeding, formula feeding, combination, and other (e.g., intravenously). In the new system, there are two questions: (1) Is infant being breastfed at time of discharge, referring to the infant suckling on the mother's breast, and (2) Exclusive breast milk through entire stay, referring to whether the infant was fed only breast milk regardless of the method. Both questions have yes/no responses. If the first question is yes, then feeding is breast. If the first question is yes and the second is no, then feeding is combination. If both answers are no, then feeding is formula. This change in data collection renders pre-2014 and post-2015 data incomparable.


The type of feedings given to an infant in the 24 hours prior to discharge from the hospital. (See Data Interpretation Issues section for more information.)


Number of feeding type-specific live births


Total number of live births

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

U.S. Target: Ever: 81.9%, Exclusively Through 3 Months: 46.2%, Exclusively Through 6 Months: 25.5%
State Target: Ever: 85%, Exclusively Through 3 Months: 45%, Exclusively Through 6 Months: 25.5%

How Are We Doing?

The breastfeeding (alone or in combination with supplemental formula) rate among New Jersey mothers is increasing. The overall breastfeeding rate was 77% in 2017 but less than half of those mothers were breastfeeding exclusively (i.e., no supplementation with formula). Breastfeeding (exclusively or in combination with formula) is most common among Asian mothers, mothers 30- to 34-years-old, foreign-born mothers, and more educated mothers. Exclusive breastfeeding was most common among the same groups except that native-born mothers were more likely than foreign-born to breastfeed exclusively and White mothers were the most likely to breastfeed exclusively. As of May 2019, thirteen New Jersey hospitals were designated as Baby-Friendly in recognition of their successful implementation of the [ World Health Organization's Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding]. The thirteen hospitals are: *Inspira Medical Center - Elmer *Capital Health Medical Center - Hopewell *Jersey Shore University Medical Center *Overlook Medical Center *Morristown Medical Center *Southern Ocean Medical Center *Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center *University Hospital *AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center *Newton Medical Center *Chilton Medical Center *Virtua Memorial *Virtua Voorhees

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. Hospital Licensing 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. These Standards 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. 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. Programs within the Department of Health have begun collaborating to develop strategies to address low breastfeeding rates within diverse populations through partnerships with community groups. The Departments of Health and Labor have begun a collaboration to call attention to employer obligations under the law to support working lactating women.

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 05/22/2019, Published on 05/22/2019
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 Sat, 08 August 2020 0:05:45 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

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