It's always the mother's choice, but some hospitals across New Jersey have their staff specially equipped to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to new and expecting mothers who are considering the route of breastfeeding.

Dieter Meyrl, ThinkStock

Four New Jersey hospitals have been officially designated as "baby friendly," meaning all healthcare personnel are trained to encourage breastfeeding, and all the resources are in place for mothers who choose to do so. Another 22 hospitals are on their way to the same designation.

Arturo Brito, deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health, said approximately 6,800 babies were born in "baby friendly" environments last year.

"Breastfeeding has many, many benefits, both for the mom and certainly the baby, and even for the child as the baby grows up," Brito said. "Babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of developing obesity and diabetes later on in life."

In addition, he said, mothers have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer development, as well as postpartum depression.

There are non-health benefits also. Breastfeeding eliminates the nuisance and expense of purchasing infant formula.

Brito noted these designated hospitals are not forcing moms to breastfeed their new babies, but the mothers should be confident that all staff members are "on the same page" when an informed choice is needed.