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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Breastfeeding up, but few persist

21st November 2012

A poll of more than 10,000 women has found that higher numbers of new mothers start breastfeeding their babies than five years previously.


The data was collected for the 2010 Infant Feeding Survey and showed 81 per 100 mothers started breastfeeding their babies, an increase from 76 per 100 in 2005.

The survey, carried out by the NHS Information Centre, showed fewer than 50% of new mothers breastfed their children after a week without also using formula, while just one in 100 breastfed only for the recommended six months.

The data showed 69% of mothers 'exclusively' breastfed at birth. After a week this figure decreased to 46% and after six weeks this dropped to less than a quarter (23%).

Around a third of mothers still breastfed their babies (along with formula feeds) after six months. 

Four fifths of mothers said they knew about the health advantages of breastfeeding and 75% wanted to breastfeed their babies.

Rosie Dodds, of the National Childbirth Trust, said the information showed the situation was improving.

"There are some positives. Things are moving in the right direction, but in the UK we started from a low base with few women breastfeeding in the 70s."

"Confidence in breastfeeding in the UK is still very low and that is one of the reasons why many women use formula feeding as well as breast milk. It is important that mothers do what they feel is right for them and their baby and are given enough support and information to make this choice."

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