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Legislation & Policy

Healthy People 2020: Breastfeeding Objectives

Healthy People provides science-based, ten-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans, managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For three decades, Healthy People has established benchmarks and monitored progress over time in order to:

  • Encourage collaborations across sectors,
  • Guide individuals toward making informed health decisions, and
  • Measure the impact of prevention activities.

Healthy People 2020

Healthy People 2020 continues in this tradition with the launch on December 2, 2010 of its ambitious, yet achievable, ten-year agenda for improving the Nation’s health. Healthy People 2020 objectives on breastfeeding are under the Maternal, Infant, and Child Health (MICH) Topic Area, under the section on "Infant Care."

The 2020 targets are as follows:

Number Objective Baseline
(year measured)
2020 Target
MICH-21 Increase the proportion of infants who are breastfed: (2006 births)  
MICH-21.1      Ever 74.0 81.9
MICH-21.2      At 6 months 43.5 60.6
MICH-21.3      At 1 year 22.7 34.1
MICH-21.4      Exclusively through 3 months 33.6 46.2
MICH-21.5      Exclusively through 6 months 14.1 25.5
MICH-22 Increase the proportion of employers that have worksite lactation support programs 25.0 (2009) 38.0
MICH-23 Reduce the proportion of breastfed newborns who receive formula supplementation within the first 2 days of life 24.2
(2006 births)
MICH-24 Increase the proportion of live births that occur in facilities that provide recommended care for lactating mothers and their babies 2.9 (2009) 8.1

View the latest breastfeeding rates data from the CDC, and the bi-annual Breastfeeding Report Card, which tracks the breastfeeding objectives for each state.

Healthy People 2010

Healthy People 2010 objectives on breastfeeding were under Focus Area 16: Maternal, Infant, and Child Health, underneath the goal: "Improve the health and well-being of women, infants, children, and families." 2010 Objective 16-19 read: "Increase the proportion of mothers who breastfeed their babies."

The 2010 targets and final results were as follows:


Objective Increase in Proportion of Mothers WhoBreastfeed 1998 Baseline
(unless noted)
% of Mothers
2010 Target
% of Mothers
16-19a. In early postpartum period 64 75
16-19b. At 6 months 29 50
16-19c. At 1 year 16 25
16-19d. Exclusively through 3 months 43 (2002) 40
16-19e. Exclusively through 6 months 13 (2002) 17