The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its Breastfeeding Report Card for 2012, and the results are heartening for breastfeeding advocates: More moms in the U.S. are nursing their babies.


Nearly 47 percent of moms breastfed their infants for six months in 2009 (the latest year for data), up from 44 percent in 2008. And more moms tried breastfeeding as well, from 75 percent in 2008 to nearly 77 percent in 2009, which marks the biggest increase in the past decade.


The Breastfeeding Report Card, now in its fifth year, provides perspectives on state and national trends in breastfeeding data. 


The report card noted the disparities in breastfeeding rates from state to state. Less than half the women in Mississippi have ever breastfed, as opposed to nearly 90 percent of women in Washington state who at least tried it. In Oregon, 49 percent of moms were still breastfeeding at 12 months, compared to 11 percent of mothers in Kentucky.


The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life, with breastfeeding in combination with other foods for up to two years and beyond.


The report coincides with World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1–7), an awareness campaign launched by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action. The first World Breastfeeding Week was celebrated in 1992, and now involves more than 170 countries and is endorsed by UNICEF, WHO, FAO and IPA.


Below, actress Sarah Shahi talks about World Breastfeeding Week and why she advocates for moms to breastfeed.



For more information, download the Breastfeeding Report Card – United States, 2012.