Breastfeeding: Location Counts

Breastfeeding is more common in states where the culture and laws support it


The state you live in helps determine your baby's chance of being breastfed. Women in the West are most likely to nurse, Southern women least likely. Higher rates are also found among women who live in states with baby-friendly laws, like those that exempt breastfeeding from indecency rules. Health experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months and supplemental breastfeeding through at least the first year. While three-quarters of new moms begin breastfeeding in the hospital, only 36 percent continue for six months; and just 17 percent keep nursing for one year. A nationwide study revealed the percentage of babies in each state who are ever breastfed:

Top 3 States

Oregon 88% California 86% Colorado 85%

Bottom 3 States

Arkansas 55% Mississippi 52% Louisiana 45%