Breast feeding rates in Scottish mothers improve but will fail to hit Government targets

May 31, 2001

Comparison of breastfeeding rates in Scotland in 1990-1 and 1997-8

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In 1994 the Scottish Office set a target that by 2005, half of all mothers should still be breastfeeding when their babies are six weeks old.

A paper in this week's BMJ by Tappin and colleagues shows that breastfeeding at seven days has increased by 6.4 per cent between 1990-1 to 1997-8. However some of this increase is explained by a higher proportion of older mothers, who are more likely to breastfeed.

Whilst saluting this success, the authors note a rapid 10 per cent fall off in breastfeeding between seven days and six weeks and warn that by 2005, only 36 per cent of mothers are likely to be breastfeeding when their babies are six weeks old rather than the target of 50 per cent.

The authors suggest that a more detailed analysis by maternity unit, documenting attempts to promote breastfeeding, such as participation in the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, may allow the effectiveness of health promotion campaigns to be assessed.
-end-
Contact:

David M Tappin, Clinical Senior Lecturer, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow, Scotland

Tel: +44-141-201-0176
Email: goda11@udcf.gla.ac.uk

BMJ

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