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Breastfeeding rates in the U.S. 2011-2015, by mother's education level

This statistic displays the percentage of children in the U.S. who were breastfed, by the mother's education level. It was found that over 90 percent of college graduated mothers initiated breast feeding, compared to under 69 percent of those with less than a high school diploma or GED.

Percentage of infants that were breastfed in the U.S. from 2011 to 2015, by mother's education level

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Release date

July 2017


United States

Survey time period

2011 to 2015

Number of respondents

88,436 to 90,692

Special properties

Children born between 2010 - 2016, aged 19-35 months

Method of interview

Telephone interview

Supplementary notes

Breastfeeding initiation was determined based on response to the question, “Was [child] ever breastfed or fed breast milk?” Breastfeeding duration was assessed by asking, “How old was [child’s name] when [child’s name] completely stopped breastfeeding or being fed breast milk?” Exclusive breastfeeding was defined as only breast milk (no solids, no water, and no other liquids). To assess the duration of exclusive breastfeeding participants were asked two questions about age: 1) “How old was [child’s name] when they were first fed formula?” and 2) “How old was [child’s name] when they were first fed anything other than breast milk or formula?” (including juice, cow’s milk, sugar water, baby food, or anything else that [child] might have been given, even water). Breastfeeding duration and exclusivity rates are estimated among all infants included in the survey and not only infants whose mothers started breastfeeding.

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