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Our News

Provincial Breastfeeding Rate Increases!

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The latest numbers are out for mothers in our province who decide to breastfeed. These numbers are exciting. They serve to show how well the breastfeeding message is getting across. The first step to six months exclusive breastfeeding is to start breastfeeding. And more mothers in Newfoundland and Labrador are doing just that!

Think about this. In 2000, less than 60% of women in Newfoundland and Labrador hospitals started breastfeeding their babies. We have the lowest rates in the country for starting breastfeeding. Our first step, obviously, is to correct that. By 2005, our rate had increased to 62.5%. Still the lowest in the country, but headed in the right direction.

That brings us to 2011. When our breastfeeding rates were…….drum roll please…… 66.7%! In the past ten years, the number of women who decide to breastfeed has been steadily growing.

Is there still work to do? There sure is. Someone has to have the lowest rates in the country, but we’d rather it not be us! But these numbers show that the work is being done. We’re headed in the right direction and there’s nowhere to go but up.

Each year, information on mother’s feeding choices is collected and analysed by the Provincial Perinatal Program. Following are the numbers from 2010 and 2011. These numbers were collected through the Newborn Screening Program in our hospitals. A full 1% increase across the province, with an upward trend in most areas:

Provincial Breastfeeding Rate Increases!

2 Responses to Provincial Breastfeeding Rate Increases!

  1. I was wondering about this information and how it is tracked.Is the numbers here just from women who initiated breastfeeding in the hospital?Is there any way that the government tracks mom’s who exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and then continue for the recommended first year and or longer?Also I was wondering if the government wanted to see a higher breastfeeding rate maybe they should look at extending maternity leave for mom’s who exclusively breastfeed and they should also put up some breastfeeding “areas” around the city in high traffic places so that mom’s who want to breastfeed but are too shy to do so publicly have somewhere to go with a bit of privacy.

  2. Hi Melissa, Thanks for your interest in the breastfeeding rates. The rates that you are seeing in the table reflect initiation rates in hospital. The rates do not reflect exclusive breastfeeding.The rates of exclusive breastfeeding to six months are not currently collected in a consistent manner across the province.According to the most recent Canadian Community Health Survey approximately 14% of women in NL exclusively breastfed for 24-<28 weeks. This would be a very small sample size. Our research working group currently has a large infant feeding survey underway and this survey will be asking questions about exclusive breastfeeding rates and duration.
    We are also working to imporve the collection of data about duration rates of breastfeeding using definitions that have been put forth by the WHO and the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada.
    I agree with your other suggestions and we have a lot of work to do to ensure that breastfeeding mothers are supported in their communities. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like more information.
    Kind regards, Janet


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