Michigan Breastfeeding Plan: Here’s what to know

‘Breastfeeding is a public health priority’

A woman breastfeeding a child. (Wendy Wei/Pexels stock image)

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has released a breastfeeding plan to tackle disparities in initiation and duration among mothers.

Breastfeeding is a public health priority for MDHHS and the state of Michigan. Disparities in initiation and duration for white and black mothers exist and are a focus of the plan,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for. “We are committed to closing the breastfeeding disparity gap, removing systemic barriers to breastfeeding and supporting all family’s ability to meet their breastfeeding goals.”

The Michigan Breastfeeding Plan divides strategies into three stages:

  • Before pregnancy
  • During pregnancy
  • After pregnancy/postpartum.

The state has been working to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration and reduce disparities among racial and ethnic groups. While almost 87% of mothers in Michigan reported ever breastfeeding their baby (initiation), only 58% reported breastfeeding at three months (duration), according to state health officials.

Tackling disparities

The MDHHS has a goal to increase initiation and duration and to decrease racial disparities by 2024. Here’s at look at the current breastfeeding initiation racial disparities in Michigan, and the 2014 goal:

Michigan breastfeeding initiation racial disparities with goals (MDHHS)

In terms of breastfeeding duration, Michigan health officials point to the following as the top reasons why mothers stop breastfeeding:

  • 55.3% - Perceived low milk supply
  • 36.5% - Perception that breastmilk alone did not satisfy baby
  • 33.2% - Difficulty nursing or latching
  • 23.1% - Too painful, sore/cracked/bleeding nipples
  • 20.8% - Returning to work

“While the reasons mothers stopped breastfeeding were consistent across racial groups, Black mothers were more likely to cite pain as a reason,” reads the report from MDHHS. “This means there is an opportunity to improve how providers are asking about, listening to, and addressing issues of pain for Black parents.”

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/Breastfeeding.

CDC: Only 58.3% of infants were breastfeeding at 6 months in 2017

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants are exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months with continued breastfeeding while introducing complementary foods for at least 1 year.

“Although most infants born in 2017 started breastfeeding (84.1%), only 58.3% of infants were breastfeeding at 6 months. The percentage of breastfed infants supplemented with infant formula before 2 days of age was 19.2% among infants born in 2017, an increase from 16.9% among infants born in 2016.”


Michigan ranks near the national average, right at 58% of infants breastfeeding at 6 months in 2017.

Take a look at the data from the CDC:

Related: Answering COVID vaccine questions: Are there any effects on women who are breastfeeding?