TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s Health Department wants hospitals to encourage new mothers to breastfeed.

The department last week proposed regulations that would require hospitals to give support and education to mothers who want to breastfeed their babies. Mothers who want to use formula would be allowed to.

The rules will be open for public comment until April 5.

New Jersey would become just the fourth state with such a policy.

Studies have shown that children who are breastfed are less likely to become obese, have respiratory infections or develop diabetes.

About 80 percent of New Jersey newborns now are breastfed, a rate slightly above the national average.

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