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Results: Breastfeeding Rates

National Immunization Survey (NIS)

Breastfeeding Among U.S. Children Born 2002–2014, CDC National Immunization Survey

Percentage of U.S. Children Who Were Breastfed, by Birth Yeara,b

Percentage of U.S. Children Who Were Breastfed, by Birth Year: Any Breastfeeding - This chart displays the percentages of infants born from 2002 to 2014 who were ever breastfed, breastfed to any extents at 6 and 12 months of age. From 2002 to 2014, ever breastfeeding rate increased from 71.4% to 82.5%; rates for breastfeeding duration at 6 months or at 12 months increased from 37.9% to 55.3% or from 19.2% to 33.7%, respectively.
Percentage of U.S. Children Who Were Breastfed, by Birth Year: Exclusive Breastfeeding - This chart displays the percentages of infants born from 2003 to 2014 who were exclusively breastfed through the first 3 or 6 months of age. From 2003 to 2014, rates for exclusive breastfeeding through the first 3 or 6 months of ages increased from 29.6% to 46.6% or from 10.3% to 24.9%, respectively.

aBreastfeeding rates through 2008 births are based on the National Immunization Survey’s landline sampling frame. Starting with 2009 births, rates are based on a dual-frame sample that includes respondents surveyed on landline or cellular telephones. See survey methods for details on study design and the impact of adding a sample of cellular telephone respondents to the National Immunization Survey starting in 2011.

bData from the U.S. territories are excluded from the national breastfeeding estimates to be consistent with the analytical methods for the establishment of Healthy People 2020 targets on breastfeeding. Healthy People 2020 targets for breastfeeding objectives in the early postpartum period (i.e., ever breastfed), at 6 months and 12 months and exclusive breastfeeding through 3 and 6 months are available.

cNational data on exclusive breastfeeding are not available for children born before 2003. See survey methods for details.

Percentage of U.S. Children Who Were Breastfed, by Birth Year, National Immunization Survey, United States (Percentage ± half 95% Confidence Interval)a,b
Landline Sample Dual-frame Sample
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Ever Breastfed 71.4±0.9 72.6±0.9 73.1±0.8 74.1±1.0 74.0±0.9 75.0±0.9 74.6±0.9 76.1±1.0 76.7±1.2 79.2±1.2 80.0±1.2 81.1±1.1 82.5±1.1
At 6 months 37.9±1.0 39.1±0.9 42.1±0.9 42.9±1.1 43.5±1.1 43.8±1.1 44.4±1.1 46.6±1.2 47.5±1.4 49.4±1.5 51.4±1.5 51.8±1.4 55.3±1.4
At 12 months 19.2±0.8 19.6±0.8 21.4±0.8 21.5±0.9 22.7±0.9 22.7±1.0 23.4±1.0 24.6±1.0 25.3±1.3 26.7±1.3 29.2±1.4 30.7±1.3 33.7±1.3
Exclusively through 3 moths 29.6±1.5 31.5±0.9 32.1±1.0 33.6±1.0 33.5±1.0 34.3±1.0 35.9±1.1 37.1±1.4 40.7±1.5 43.3±1.6 44.4±1.4 46.6±1.4
Exclusively through 6 months 10.3±1.0 12.1±0.7 12.3±0.7 14.1±0.8 13.8±0.8 14.6±0.8 15.6±0.9 17.2±1.2 18.8±1.2 21.9±1.4 22.3±1.1 24.9±1.3

aBreastfeeding rates through 2008 births are based on the National Immunization Survey’s landline sampling frame. Starting with 2009 births, rates are based on a dual-frame sample that includes respondents surveyed on landline or cellular telephones. See survey methods for details on study design and the impact of adding a sample of cellular telephone respondents to the National Immunization Survey starting in 2011.

bData from the U.S. territories are excluded from the national breastfeeding estimates to be consistent with the analytical methods for the establishment of Healthy People 2020 targets on breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Rates by State and Socio-demographics Based on Dual-frame Phone Samples Starting from 2009 Birthsa
“Any” and “Exclusive” Breastfeeding Rates Birth Year
-by States 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
-by Socio-demographics 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009

aDual-frame phone samples starting from 2009 births (2011 and 2012 NIS survey years) include both landline and cellular phone samples (see survey methods).

Percentage of Breastfed Children Who Were Supplemented with Infant Formula, by Birth Year, National Immunization Survey, United Statesa,b,c

2. Percentage of Breastfed Children Who Were Supplemented with Infant Formula, by Birth Year, National Immunization Survey, United States - This chart displays the percentages of breastfed infants born from 2003 to 2014 who were supplemented with infant formula within the first 2 days, 3 or 6 months of age. From 2003 to 2014, rates for breastfed infants supplemented with infant formula within the first 2 days, 3 or 6 months decreased from 22.3% to 15.5%, from 38.1% to 27.8% or from 47.4% to 33.8%, respectively.

aFormula supplementation rates through 2008 births are based on the National Immunization Survey’s landline sampling frame. Starting with 2009 births, rates are based on a dual-frame sample that includes respondents surveyed on landline or cellular telephones. See survey methods for details on study design and the impact of adding a sample of cellular telephone respondents to the National Immunization Survey starting in 2011.

bFormula supplementation is defined as supplementation of breast milk with formula (with or without other supplementary liquids or solids) among infants breastfed at the age specified (2 days, 3 months, or 6 months). Data from the U.S. territories are excluded from the national estimates to be consistent with the analytical methods for the establishment of Healthy People 2020 targets on breastfeeding.

cNational data on formula supplementation are not available for children born before to 2003. See survey methods for details on study design.

Percentage of U.S. Breastfed Infants Who Were Supplemented with Infant Formula, by Birth Year, National Immunization Survey, United States (Percentage +/- half 95% Confidence Interval)a,b,c
Landline Sample Dual-frame Sample
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Before 2 days 22.3±1.6 23.5±1.0 24.9±1.1 24.2±1.1 25.6±1.2 25.1±1.2 23.3±1.1 22.8±1.4 19.4±1.3 19.1±1.3 17.1±1.2 15.5±1.0
Before 3 months 38.1±2.2 37.4±1.3 38.1±1.4 36.7±1.4 37.1±1.5 37.1±1.5 35.9±1.5 35.4±1.8 31.5±1.8 29.3±1.8 29.2±1.6 27.8±1.5
Before 6 months 47.4±2.6 44.5±1.5 44.8±1.7 43.6±1.6 43.7±1.7 43.6±1.7 43.4±1.7 42.8±2.2 37.9±2.0 35.4±2.1 34.9±1.8 33.8±1.7

aFormula supplementation rates through 2008 births are based on the National Immunization Survey’s landline sampling frame. Starting with 2009 births, rates are based on a dual-frame sample that includes respondents surveyed on landline or cellular telephones. See survey methods for details on study design and the impact of adding a sample of cellular telephone respondents to the National Immunization Survey starting in 2011.

bFormula supplementation is defined as supplementation of breast milk with formula (with or without other supplementary liquids or solids) among infants breastfed at the age specified (2 days, 3 months, or 6 months). Data from the U.S. territories are excluded from the national estimates to be consistent with the analytical methods for the establishment of Healthy People 2020 targets on breastfeeding.

Rates of Any and Exclusive Breastfeeding by Age Among Children Born in 2014, National Immunization Survey, United Statesa,b

3. Rates of Any and Exclusive Breastfeeding by Age Among Children Born in 2014, National Immunization Survey, United States - This chart displays the percentage of infants born in 2014 who were breastfed to any extent or exclusively breastfed during the first year of life. While percentage of infants breastfed to any extent decreased from 82.5% at birth to 33.7% at 12 months of age, percentage of infants exclusively breastfed decreased from 65.1% at 7 days to 24.9% at 6 months of age.

aBreastfeeding rates presented in this figure are based on dual-frame (landline and cellular telephone) samples from 2015 and 2016 National Immunization Surveys. See survey methods for details on study design.

bExclusive breastfeeding is defined as ONLY breast milk — NO solids, water, or other liquids. Data from the U.S. territories are excluded from the national estimates to be consistent with the analytical methods for the establishment of Healthy People 2020 targets on breastfeeding.

Rates of Any and Exclusive Breastfeeding by Age Among Children Born in 2014 (Percentage +/- half 95% Confidence Interval)a,b U.S. National Breastfeeding Rates, 2014 Births
Child Age Breastfeeding
(n=17109)
Exclusive Breastfeeding (n=16522)
At birth 82.5±1.1
7 days 81.5±1.1 65.1±1.3
14 days 80.6±1.1 63.0±1.4
21 days 79.4±1.1 61.0±1.4
28 days 78.4±1.2 59.9±1.4
42 days 74.9±1.2 54.1±1.4
1 month 78.2±1.2 59.6±1.4
2 month 73.7±1.2 53.0±1.4
3 month 68.6±1.3 46.6±1.4
4 month 62.3±1.4 39.3±1.4
5 month 57.9±1.4 30.6±1.4
6 month 55.3±1.4 24.9±1.3
7 month 46.4±1.4
8 month 43.7±1.4
9 month 40.3±1.4
10 month 37.5±1.4
11 month 35.3±1.3
12 month 33.7±1.3
18 month 13.5±1.0

aBreastfeeding rates presented in this table are based on dual-frame (landline and cellular telephone) samples from 2015 and 2016 National Immunization Surveys. See survey methods for details on study design.

bExclusive breastfeeding is defined as ONLY breast milk — NO solids, water, or other liquids. Data from the U.S. territories are excluded from the national estimates to be consistent with the analytical methods for the establishment of Healthy People 2020 targets on breastfeeding.

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