Reports shows California hospitals lack policies to help mothers breastfeed

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A new report says California hospitals could do more to support mothers who want to breastfeed their babies.

Ninety percent of mothers in the state start breastfeeding in the hospital where they give birth. But Jane Heinig with the Human Lactation Center at UC Davis says by the time those moms head home, half are supplementing breast milk with baby formula.

Heinig says that tells her that hospitals need to adopt practices scientifically proven to promote breastfeeding in the first hours of a baby’s life.

“Things like making sure moms and babies get to stay together, rather than removing the baby and putting the baby in a nursery for several hours,” says Heinig. “Things like making sure that the mother has support that’s available and ready when she’s ready to nurse her baby.”

UC Davis co-authored the breastfeeding report with the California WIC Association. The breastfeeding report also says hospitals that serve low-income mothers are more likely to supplement breast milk with expensive baby formula.