HealthDay News — Even though most new mothers in the United States begin breastfeeding their infants at birth, many stop sooner than recommended, according to the 2016 Breastfeeding Report Card from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2013, eight out of 10 newborns (81.1%) started out breastfeeding, which shows most mothers want to breastfeed and try to do so. However, only about half of infants (51.8%) are still breastfeeding at 6 months of age. And less than one-third (30.7%) are breastfed at 12 months, the CDC reports.

“We are pleased by the large number of mothers who start out breastfeeding their infants,” Ruth Petersen, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s division of nutrition, physical activity, and obesity, said in a CDC news release. “Mothers can better achieve their breastfeeding goals with active support from their families, friends, communities, clinicians, health care leaders, employers, and policymakers.”

Examples of such support include breastfeeding education programs, improved maternity care practices in hospitals, peer and professional support for new mothers, and sufficient space and equipment to breastfeed or express breast milk in workplaces and child-care centers, according to the CDC.

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