A new government report says more than 80 percent of new Minnesota mothers gave breastfeeding a try in 2007. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Minnesota's breastfeeding rates rank 13th in the nation.
She says Minnesota meets national goals for breastfeeding, but could do better, according to Mary Johnson, breastfeeding coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Health.
"There's certainly more opportunity for public education," said Johnson. "We've seen hospitals made some great progress. And there's still some work to be done in some hospitals, and then some that are just really models of good support."
Johnson says many new mothers still encounter barriers to breastfeeding when they return to work. She notes that Minnesota requires employers to provide a suitable room for mothers to express milk.
"The word isn't out there for everyone, and especially for some of our women that are at probably an entry level job or factory job," said Johnson. "They still find it difficult to return to work and continue to breastfeed."
The CDC report shows that breastfeeding rates drop to 50 percent by the time babies are 6 months old. At the 1-year mark, just a little over one-quarter of mothers are still breastfeeding.