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06/12/2017

Public Health England Releases Breastfeeding Stats

New statistics have been released by Public Health England looking at breastfeeding prevalence at six to eight weeks after birth.

For 2016-17, the breastfeeding rate for England is 44.4%, an increase from the previous year (43.2%).

The statistics, based on data submitted voluntarily by 142 out of 150 local authorities, are collected quarterly by NHS England and show the number and proportion of infants who have been fully, partially, or not at all, breastfed at six to eight weeks post-birth.

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Commenting on the findings, Professor Mary Fewtrell, nutrition lead for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said that while there has been an improvement in breastfeeding figures, the numbers are still low.

"Typically, the number of women who start breastfeeding in the UK is high, sitting at around 80%," she continued. "However this number plummets after a couple of weeks. We know this is due to a number of factors including a lack of local support thanks to services falling victim to public health cuts, inconsistent messaging from healthcare professionals, social stigma and lack of family support.

"To improve breastfeeding rates we urgently need government show they take this seriously and invest in local support so that the health benefits to mother and baby can be realised."

The statistics can be viewed here.

(JP/MH)

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"New statistics have been released by Public Health England looking at breastfeeding prevalence at six to eight weeks after birth."