Performance Measurement Network

Question: Mother's choice not to breast feed

Please explain why a mother's choice to not breast feed is not considered in PC-05. We feel that this measure forces mothers to breast feed.


Prior to measure selection, a Perinatal Care (PC Technical Advisory Panel was formed which included PC experts representing ACOG, AAP, SMFM, AWHONN, AHIP, NPIC, ACNM, CDC and NQF. The TAP reviewed and considered only measures that had been recently endorsed by NQF for consideration in the PC measure set. The exclusive breast milk feeding measure was unanimously recommended for inclusion in the PC measure set by the TAP. There are numerous evidence-based studies that support the benefits of exclusive breast milk feeding. While a mother's choice to not breast feed is an individual decision that needs to be respected, there are a number of educational programs based on scientific evidence that have successfully been implemented to increase the number of mothers that exclusively feed their newborns breast milk. These programs contain detailed information that can be presented to the mothers to help them reach the decision on whether to breast feed or not. No mother should be "forced" to do something she does not want to do. Current estimates place the rate of exclusive breast milk feeding at around 30% in some parts of the country. Although a goal of reaching 100% will not be feasible in some cases, there is still room for improvement for most hospitals in their baseline rates. Exclusive breast milk feeding for the first 6 months of neonatal life has long been the expressed goal of World Health Organization (WHO, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). ACOG has recently reiterated its position. Healthy People 2010 and the CDC have also been active in promoting this goal.))

Question Details
Focus area(s): Chart Abstracted Measure Specifications – Clinical
Related documents: PC-05, Exclusive Breast Milk Feeding,

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