Oklahoma babies are breast-fed at some of the lowest rates in the nation, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.
About 71 percent of Oklahoma babies in 2013 were ever breast-fed, lower than the national average of about 79 percent of babies, according to the report.
Overall, Oklahoma’s breast-feeding rates in 2013 were lower than a majority of states in each category the CDC included in the report.
“It says a lot about the health of both women and babies in the state of Oklahoma,” said Kathryn Konrad, co-leader of the Oklahoma Birth Network. “There’s lots and lots of research showing that breast-feeding is the best choice for both mom and baby.”
Konrad said breast-feeding has been shown to help mothers by decreasing their chances of developing postpartum depression and also helping to establish a better bond between mother and child.
“For babies, we know it decreases their risks for allergies ... serious childhood illnesses like diabetes and decreases their risk of diseases later on in life,” Konrad said.
The CDC report also shows that:
In Oklahoma, 38 percent of infants were breastfed at 6 months of age. By the time the babies reach their first birthdays, that number dipped to about 23 percent of babies being breast-fed, according to the report.
About 36 percent of babies were being only breast-fed at 3 months of age, not also fed with formula
About 16 percent of babies were only breast-fed at 6 months of age.
Oklahoma also had a low rate of babies born at “baby-friendly” hospitals, a distinction given to hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother-baby bonding.