KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Three hospitals in Missouri and one in Kansas are joining a national effort to improve breastfeeding rates.
They are Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, the University of Missouri's Women's and Children's Hospital in Columbia and Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kan.
The institutions are among 90 hospitals chosen to take part in a program called Best Fed Beginnings. The hospitals will get help implementing recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. They include establishing support groups and helping mothers nurse their babies within a half-hour of birth.
Breastfeeding has health benefits for moms and babies. But studies show that half of U.S.-born babies are given formula in their first week. By nine months, only 31 percent of babies are breastfeeding at all.