According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the celebration of breastfeeding nationally began in 1990 to commemorate the Innocenti Declaration made by WHO and UNICEF policy-makers to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. Since then there has been a double-digit increase in the percent of moms who breastfeed their babies.

In a 2018 report by the Center for Disease Control more than 83% of babies born in the U.S. are breastfed at birth.  That’s up from 77% in 2013 and 71% in the mid-’90s.  Surprisingly, there is a 30-point spread between the state with the highest (Alaska) percentage and the state with the lowest (Mississippi) percentage of breast-fed babies.

The states with a higher-than-average breastfeeding rate are:

Alaska                                 93.1
Washington                       92.4
Maryland                            91
Colorado                             90.9
Hawaii                                 90.6
Idaho                                   90.1
Wyoming                            90

Utah                                     89.7
Oregon                                 89.4
Vermont                              89.3
Minnesota                          89.2
New Mexico                       87.7
Massachusetts                   87.4
New Hampshire                87.4
California                            87.2

Connecticut                        86.3

Puerto Rico                         85.9
Maine                                   85.3
New York                            85.1
Texas                                   85

North Carolina                  84.9
Georgia                               84

Montana                             83.9
Pennsylvania                     83.8
Kansas                                 83.6
Nevada                                83.5
South Dakota                     83.3

The States that have a lower-than-average breastfeeding population are:

District of Columbia         83

New Jersey                         82.8
Arizona                                82.7
Florida                                 82.6
Missouri                              82.3
Nebraska                             82.2
Wisconsin                           82.2

Ohio                                     81.9
North Dakota                     81.7
Virginia                               81.7
Iowa                                     81.5
Rhode Island                      81.4

Illinois                                 80.3

Indiana                                78.8

Michigan                             77.7
Delaware                             77.4

South Carolina                   76.4

Oklahoma                           75.9
Tennessee                           75.7

Kentucky                             73.9
Arkansas                             73.8

West Virginia                     68.6
Alabama                              68.1

Louisiana                            67

Mississippi                         63.2

Health Benefits of Breast Feeding

Breastfeeding babies provide health benefits to both the baby and the mom.

WomensHealth.gov reports that

The American Academy of Pediatrics studies reveal that breastfed babies have lower risks of:

  • Asthma
  • Leukemia (during childhood)
  • Obesity (during childhood)
  • Ear infections
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Lower respiratory infections
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Type 2 diabetes

Women’s Health also reports that

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says breastfeeding leads to a lower risk of these health problems in mothers: 

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Certain types of breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer

If you’re interested in breastfeeding and looking for products to help you breastfeed, check out our Top 10 Breastfeeding Products for the Nursing Mom.