• Almost 80 percent of hospitals give formula to healthy breastfeeding infants when it isn’t medically necessary, which the CDC says “makes it much harder for mothers and babies to learn how to breastfeed and continue breastfeeding at home”;
• Only 14 percent of hospitals have a written, model breastfeeding policy;
• Only one-third of hospitals practice rooming in, whereby mothers and babies stay together 24 hours a day; and
• Almost 75 percent of hospitals don’t provide mothers and babies the support they need when they leave the hospital, including a follow-up visit, a phone call from hospital staff and referrals to lactation consultants, Women Infants Children and other support systems in their community.
The report comes just one day after the Department of Health and Human Services adopted insurance coverage guidelines that will require new plans to cover preventive care for women without co-pays. This includes breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling.
“The guidelines we’re adopting today reflect the huge health benefits that come with preventive care,” Sebelius said in a conference call with reporters Monday. “For example, it’s estimated that if 90 percent of mothers were able to breastfeed in the first six months [of their babies’ lives], it would save the lives of 1,000 infants and save the healthcare system $13 billion each year.”