May 15, 2012, 10:50 am By KJ DELL'ANTONIA Does the United States — do we — really want women to breast-feed their  infants?

The American Academy of Pediatrics certainly does. As do the Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, which clearly have the ring of officialdom about them.

But as many mothers can attest, the awarding of a smiley-face sticker for diligent nursing does nothing to make up for inadequate support for women who want to breast-feed their babies while simultaneously remaining employed outside the home. It’s possible to do both, and many women do — but very few would argue that the federal or state government offered much, if any, help.

Last week, Save the Children released its State of the World’s Mothers Report for 2012, and in it, amid the detailed discussion of successes and failures of all the world’s nations with respect to taking care of mothers and infants, was this:

The United States ranks last on the Breastfeeding Policy Scorecard. It is the only economically advanced country – and one of just a handful of countries worldwide – where employers are not required to provide any paid maternity leave after a woman gives birth. There is also no paid parental leave required by U.S. law. Mothers may take breaks from work to nurse, but employers are not required to pay them for this time. Only 2 percent of hospitals in the United States have been certified as “baby-friendly” and none of the provisions of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes has been enacted into law. While 75 percent of American babies are initially breast-fed, only 35 percent are being breast-fed exclusively at 3 months. To read more click HERE to go to the New York Times.