Breastfeeding Data and Statistics

Mother breastfeeding infant

How Does Tennessee Compare to Other States?

According to the most recent National Immunization Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),

  • 79.1 percent of Tennessee infants born in 2018 had ever breastfed, which is below the national estimate of 83.9 percent.
  • At 6 months of age, 49.2 percent were breastfeeding (22.4 percent exclusively). 
  • The rate of breastfeeding at 12 months of age was 32.0 percent.

The large difference between the rate of mothers who have the intention of breastfeeding and those still breastfeeding at six months indicate that many obstacles exist for mothers in their attempt to breastfeed.  Some of those obstacles are:

  • Lack of experience or understanding among family members of how best to support mothers and babies
  • Not enough opportunities to communicate with other breastfeeding mothers
  • Lack of up-to-date instruction and information from health care professionals
  • Hospital practices that make it difficult to get started with successful breastfeeding
  • Lack of accommodation to breastfeed or express milk at the workplace

Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) 

Maternity practices in hospitals and birth centers can influence breastfeeding behaviors during a period critical to successful establishment of lactation. The literature, including a Cochrane review, found that institutional changes in maternity care practices to make them more supportive of breastfeeding increased initiation and duration of breastfeeding.

In 2009, CDC administered the first national Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) survey.  All hospitals and birth centers in the U.S. that provide maternity care are invited to participate. This report describes specific opportunities to improve mother-baby care at hospitals and birth centers across the country to more successfully meet national quality of care standards for perinatal care.  For more information about the mPINC survey and view past state reports, visit  

Click here to view Tennessee's 2020 mPINC Survey Report. 

Note: The mPINC survey was redesigned in 2018. Results from the 2018 and 2020 mPINC surveys cannot be compared with results from previous mPINC surveys.