August is breastfeeding awareness month. So you should be aware of the fact that fewer than 4% of U.S. hospitals are giving mothers what they need to start and continue with breastfeeding. For example, most hospitals send mothers home with “gift bags” that have formula samples. Of course, Enfamil, Similac and others are happy to donate these bags to the hospitals to peddle their products while giving lip service to the superiority of breast milk. Another common practice is supplementing breastfeeding babies with formula, even when it’s not necessary, which at least 80% of hospitals do. And only 1/3 of hospitals allow babies to room with their mothers. These practices undermine the Healthy People Goal of at least 75% breastfeeding rate. We need many more hospitals to get on board with the ten breastfeeding friendly practices, as outlined by the Breastfeeding Friendly Hospital Initiative by UNICEF. By the way, if you live in Maryland, you won’t find a Baby Friendly Hospital in which to give birth, according to the most recent listing on the BFH website.