Data published by Public Health England reveals the proportion of babies who are still being breastfed six to eight weeks after birth in England has fallen to its lowest level in the past four years | via OnMedica
The data covers the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, and were submitted by local authorities on a voluntary basis through an interim reporting system set up to collect health visiting activity data at a local authority resident level.
Some 140 out of 150 local authorities provided sufficient data, and their returns show an aggregate prevalence of 42.7% for 2017-18. This compares with 44.1% in 2016-17; 43.1% in 2015-16; and 43.8% in 2014-15.
Dr Max Davie, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health officer for health promotion said: “Breast milk gives babies the best possible start in life. These figures are therefore disappointing, but sadly not surprising.”
He said the significant drop-off at the six to eight-week mark was due to a range of factors, which included lack of local support services, social stigma around breastfeeding in public as well as “inconsistent messaging from health professionals.”
Full story at OnMedica
- Statistical commentary: breastfeeding at 6 to 8 weeks, 2017 to 2018 annual (October 2018 release)
- Statistical release: breastfeeding at 6 to 8 weeks, 2017 to 2018 annual (October 2018 release)