July 11, 2023

We deliver excellence for parents and babies

Our members are more likely to feed their babies breast milk. And they’re less likely to undergo cesarean section or get infections.

At our hospitals, 7 in 10 babies receive only breast milk the entire time they’re in the hospital after birth. That’s well above the national average.

It can be hard to know what to expect when you or a loved one is expecting.

But Kaiser Permanente members can feel confident that they and their babies will receive safe, high-quality care.

Our hospitals are among the best in the nation for maternity care — and that’s good news for both parents and babies.

High rates of breastfeeding

At Kaiser Permanente, we encourage and support new parents in breastfeeding or chestfeeding their babies. So, babies born in our medical centers are more likely to receive breast milk or chest milk throughout their hospital stay. (Both breastfeeding and chestfeeding mean feeding a baby with milk from the chest.)

This is important because breast milk provides major health benefits for babies.

“Feeding your baby breast milk helps ensure a healthy start. It lowers a child’s risk for long-term health problems such as asthma, obesity, and type 1 diabetes,” said Lisa Denike, MD, national lead for children’s health at Kaiser Permanente. “Breastfed babies have fewer ear infections and stomach bugs. They are also less likely to experience sudden infant death syndrome.”

Breastfeeding also benefits moms

“People who breastfeed may recover quicker from pregnancy, labor, and delivery,” said Kari Carlson, MD, national clinical lead for women’s health at Kaiser Permanente. “Breastfeeding can also reduce the mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and type 2 diabetes.”

In the U.S., only about 5 in 10 babies are fed only breast milk during their hospital stays. This is according to data from The Joint Commission, a hospital accreditation organization. But at our hospitals, 7 in 10 newborns receive only breast milk when they’re in the hospital.

Safe and effective maternity care

Our members not only benefit from breastfeeding support but also from high-quality care that makes pregnancy and childbirth safer. Numerous organizations that evaluate health care quality have praised our care.

In 2022 and 2023, we had:

One measure of safety in maternity care is low rates of cesarean sections.

“In some cases, C-sections can be lifesaving for mothers and babies. But they’re also linked to increased risk of infections and blood clots, and complications in future pregnancies,” Dr. Carlson said. “At Kaiser Permanente, we’re doing our part to lower C-section rates by educating families and care teams about supporting vaginal birth, and carefully monitoring how labor is progressing around the clock.”

Kaiser Permanente supports pregnant people and their families throughout every stage of their journey.

Learn more about pregnancy and maternity care at Kaiser Permanente.