Breastfeeding rates increase

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According to 2010 data from the NHS Information Centre, the number of new mothers who are breastfeeding is increasing. The figures indicate that the rate of breastfeeding in England exceeds those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It has been noted however that most areas have shown an increase.

Statistics show that eight out of 10 newborn babies are now being breastfed. This indicates an increase from the 1990 figures of six out of 10 babies. The report covers incidences of babies who are breastfed from birth, including any who have only been breastfed once. Data on the number of females who are still breastfeeding six weeks later or when the baby is a few months old will be made available in 2012.

The report shows that 90% of females in professional and managerial careers breastfeed their babies from birth. This figure drops to 74% for those women who are in manual or routine careers. The figure drops further for those women who have never been employed. It states that breastfeeding is more likely to be a feeding method of choice for older mothers. 87% Of mothers over the age of 30 choose to breastfeed, compared to 58% of those under the age of 20.

The statistics were taken from a set of almost 16,000 females. An increase of 7% was shown in England for the period 2005 and 2010. In Scotland and Wales the figure increased by 4% during the same period. Northern Ireland showed no significant change for this period.

A spokesperson for the Breastfeeding Network stated that breastfeeding is close to most mothers’ hearts and that most babies in the UK start off being breastfed. She stated that in the 2005 survey there were indications that those females who stopped breastfeeding after six weeks actually wanted to carry on for longer if circumstances permitted.

The increase in statistics shows that the effort that hospitals have put in place in recent years regarding the improvement of staff training and knowledge is paying off. The Department of Health spokesperson has stated that the department recognises the importance of breastfeeding for both the baby and the mother. They will continue to support the breastfeeding initiative via the Healthy Child Programme.

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