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Missoula Measures - Breastfeeding


Why this topic?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively -- with no baby formula or added foods or beverages -- for the first six months of life.

Breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and young babies. It's inexpensive, convenient, and it's uniquely tailored to meet all of a baby's nutritional needs for the first six months of life. William Dietz, MD, director of CDC's division of nutrition and physical activity.

Breast milk contains antibodies from the mother that can protect infants from infection. It also helps boost the baby’s own immune system. Babies who are breastfed have less frequent diarrhea, and have fewer ear or respiratory infections. They are also less likely to develop asthma or diabetes, and less apt to be overweight or obese later in life. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life has also been associated with higher IQ scores.

Mothers who breastfeed burn more calories, which makes it easier for them to return to their pre-pregnancy weight. They also have lower rates of certain breast and ovarian cancers later in life.

How are we doing?

Missoula has a growing number of services to support mothers in breastfeeding their babies. These include 5 WIC clinic sites throughout the county, where enrolled mothers can receive support for breastfeeding including education, “how to” materials, supplemental foods, Vitamin D supplements, and breast-pumps. In addition, there is an active LeLeche league, the Missoula Breastfeeding Coalition, and several certified lactation consultant staff at the Missoula City-County Health Department as well as at Community Medical Center, to provide education and support to mothers in Missoula County. MCCHD provides assistance and recognition to worksites that support mothers who wish to continue breastfeeding after returning to work, following maternity leave.

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 graph percent of Missoula WIC clients who breastfed 2013
MCCHD 2009

In Montana in 2013:

Kaiser Family - State Health

graph breastfeeding rates, US, Montana, Missoula, 2013, Healthy People 2020 goal 

US and MT - CDC Breastfeeding Report Card, 2010
Missoula - WIC, MCCHD



Healthy People 2020 Target

  • 81.9% of babies ever breastfed
  • 60.6% of babies breastfed for 6 months
  • 34.1% of babies breastfeed for 12 months

Related Data

According to the Breastfeeding Report Card, 2013 -

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Division:

3 Steps that can increase initiation and success of breastfeeding:

  1. Skin-to-skin contact between mother and infant within 5 minutes of delivery, and until baby initiates breastfeeding.
  2. Rooming-in at hospital/clinic: have baby in the room with the mother at least 23 hours a day.
  3. Easy access to weekly breastfeeding support groups.


graph breastfeeding rates Missoula 2011-2013


Related Websites

CDC - Breastfeeding 

Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care - report from CDC (mPINC)

Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding - what birth centers and health care providers can do.

Links to health data, statistics and information from many national sources.


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