% of women who bf past a year

(57 Posts)
minicc Wed 21-Nov-12 18:14:25

My sister sent me a link to a Bbc news article re:bf rates in the uk. (she also said how special I am to have ebf for 6 months let alone feeding at all at just over a year) Anywhoo, does anyone know what % of women still feed at 1yr? No agenda, just curious. Thanks

SirBoobAlot Wed 28-Nov-12 00:20:37

I think the rates are so shockingly low because there is too much air time given to profit hungry companies. There is also a huge lack of education among medical professionals, so women are often put off. We live in a society where bottle feeding is the norm, and that in itself creates a cycle: more mums bottle feeding, pregnant mums haven't seen many mums breastfeeding, they don't know much about it and have no one to ask, so they bottle feed, next pregnant mum sees them bottle feeding...

DS weaned himself a few months ago, just before turning three.

CaseyShraeger Tue 27-Nov-12 21:22:16

Only one of mine would have counted as EBF at 6 months.

DS was weaned before 6 months because our HVs were a bit pants and I didn't frequent MN then.

DD1 did BLW and had helped herself to a couple of bites of things around 5.5 months.

DD2 also did BLW but had no interest at all in food until nearly 7 months.

All three of them were bf past a year, though, and neither of the DDs has ever had any formula.

Kelvinator, but those who make a decision in advance to ff and never even try bf are a small minority -- I think it's 19% in the latest survey, although I may be misremembering. Most mothers do want to do it and do try, but somewhere along the line it goes wrong. Very very very often IME they are led to doubt that they are producing enough/good enough quality milk and are advised to top up rather than being helped to boost supply.

BadlyWrittenPoem Tue 27-Nov-12 20:47:32

Also, I have read the infant feeding survey in detail and the definition of exclusive breastfeeding is nothing except breastmilk and medicines. This means that if you have given your baby sips of water before six months (which my HV with DD1 advised) then you don't count as EBF at six months. I think a lot of people who would consider themselves to be exclusively breastfeeding would not count as such for the survey. (e.g. I wouldn't with DD1 because she had 7oz of formula over day 3/4 when I was very sore and had water albeit probably negligible from a sippy cup from about four months)

BadlyWrittenPoem Tue 27-Nov-12 20:43:41

"One reasons I initally wanted to stop was to ttc (have not got my period back) but now I am having doubts about having any more DC as I dread bf them but I know I couldnt live with the guilt of formula feeding them.

Feeling very selfish and a failure of a mother tbh "

Kelvinator, this was one of my worries wrt another child. I was not looking forward to the soreness and was worried that it would be too much for me to manage while looking after my existing child. However, I have actually found BF much easier this time. I did still have the sore bit but it lasted for a shorter length of time and I didn't have all the stress and worry that was created for me the first time by all the information I had been given that said BF does not hurt if you are doing it properly. I had more confidence that I was doing it correctly, the soreness wasn't as bad and I knew that the soreness wouldn't last. First time round I honestly would have switched to formula if my husband had suggested it (but fortunately I had drummed so much into him about how good BF is while I was pregnant that he didn't) but this time round I haven't ever considered it.

I am also baffled as to why people stop after the first few months. I found the initial bit the hardest and can totally empathise with why people stop earlier on but to go through all that and then just decide to stop once you are in the easy bit seems puzzling to me. I'm sure people do have good reasons - I just can't think what they could be and feel like to ask would seem like a criticism.

BertieBotts Mon 26-Nov-12 20:55:32

There are no guidelines which differentiate between breastmilk and formula at 6 months or any other age - the recommendation is exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and then breastfeeding alongside solids for however long you want, the only guideline about formula is to keep using it until 12 months rather than cow's milk (and not to use follow on until 6 months).

Startail Mon 26-Nov-12 11:57:16

I think DD2 probably qualifies as 0.000000000001% of DC were still BF.

I'm happy to accept she was something of an exception, but 2,3 and up to 5 are perfectly achievable.

I don't know why people feel they have to give up at a year, the mum's I know best didn't they carried on in to toddlerdom, some self weaned, some stopped because mum got PG, some were encouraged to stop because mum wanted her bed back.

It seems so sad that mothers feel they have to stop.

Carrying on is easy, perhaps dear DD2 too easy, DCs will settle to night and morning or even just evening, they can miss a few days and start again.
Feeding a baby to sleep is beautiful, but feeding to sleep an older child who understands it's special too is the greatest honour of all.

Kelvinator Mon 26-Nov-12 11:54:39

Are poor bf rates really down to "bloody marketing bastards, poorly trained health care professionals (some are great though _ don't get me wrong!) and general lack of support networkconflicting advice"?

I must live in some sort of vacume then, I hear this all the time on mumsnet and read about poor rates in the news but my bf experience was so very different and not at all affected by the above.

I got given info about bf from my midwives, I chose to bf and I did.

I went to nhs bf class when pregnant which gave me some idea of what to do, looking back with hindsight it wasnt very helpful but it did give me some basic understandings of which I had none to begin with.

It took a lot of time to work out what to do in the early days but I didnt need to consult anyone about it fortunately.

Early problems and anxiety I did have were sorted out in part because I was stuck at home with terrible back pain after labour and couldnt do much except for stay in bed and feed DS.

I never even considered using formula until he was 6 months as that is what the guidelines were and I chose to follow them.

I really think blaming "bloody marketing bastards, poorly trained health care professionals (some are great though _ don't get me wrong!) and general lack of support networkconflicting advice" is a bit patroninsing to mothers who make a concious choice to ff.

(This does not apply to those who have had difficulties bf and who really struggled to make it work and didnt get support they needed. Of course these mothers exist as well, but I am just saying that there are plenty of others who make a deliberate and informed choice to ff)

FivesAndNorks Mon 26-Nov-12 11:36:34

Nethuns, please add conflicting advice to that list which is giving me the rage.
Completely agree. The vast majority of women do their utmost to do their best for their babies, and many want to breastfeed. Many of those stop before they want because of lack of support and /or culture of bottlefeeding. Passion about improving bf rates should never be confused with wanting to dictate how individual women should feed their babies. On that, thryre best placed tojudge. Doesn't change the fact that nationally we need to improve.

ISeeThreadPeople Mon 26-Nov-12 11:31:31

Did somebody say kit kat? Chocolate? Yes please. Probably should have a non-nestle badge of extended bfing, yummy though they are!

DD was bf exclusively till 6 months, self weaned at 3.4yrs.

DS exclusively till 6 months, still going strong at 14 months. Will let him self wean too.

Am pleased the recent stats show an improvement.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Mon 26-Nov-12 11:29:20

Its not what I'd think of as ebf though. Lots more people are just bf and haven't touched formula - but happened to have tried banana or a breadstick as well. I think that's a bit misleading. 34% still bf at 6 months is a better statistic.

I bf to at least a year as can then do cups of milk as well without a formula stage. No 1 weaned off about 18months. No 2 still going.

FivesAndNorks Mon 26-Nov-12 11:29:15

No i don't think it does. The question is how is/was your baby fed at 6 months I think. So excl bf would still be an option even if the baby had a bottle of formula when tiny.

nethunsreject Mon 26-Nov-12 11:26:11

The 'exclusive till 6 months' also rules out all the people who have given the occassional (or even one off) bit of formula. I have met many people in my work as a bf counsellor who have bfed for a very impressive length of time, but have perhaps been advised (rightly or wrongly) by medical staff to top up here and there, os to give a one off feed if their milk was very slow to come in.

Still pitifully poor bf rates. Not mums fault - bloody marketing bastards, poorly trained health care professionals (some are great though _ don't get me wrong!) and general lack of support network.

Woodlands Mon 26-Nov-12 11:25:14

Yes, when I read the survey I saw that 12% have not introduced any other milk by 6 months (the 1% figure refers to those who have not introduced any other milk OR solids). As someone said above, 34% of babies are receiving some breastmilk at 6 months. I don't think the survey gives a percentage of babies still receiving any BM at 12 months, does it? I think 1-3% sounds about right. Much much higher here on MN of course! And in real life I'd say maybe 20% of the mums I know have BF past a year, but that's quite a middle class older mums group of people.

FivesAndNorks Mon 26-Nov-12 11:17:43

There aren't any decent stats and the numbers are so small few conclusions can be reached about it.

" poachedeggs

I was horrified to read that only 1% manage 6 months EBF"

Me too, yet I suspect its not helped by the guidelines about introducing solids no later than 6 months hmm and the all important window of opportunity for successful weaning.

showtunesgirl Mon 26-Nov-12 11:13:39

I asked this question last week when the new report was published.

I have JUST entered the feeding at over a year old club. smile

Kelvinator Mon 26-Nov-12 11:06:56

This really surprises me. I would have guess 10-15%

Mixed feelings really as I have been trying to stop bf DS since he was 6 months, He never took a bottle, I found his crying too stressful to try harder and dont have much friend family support, so couldnt hand him over to anybody so they could try.

He is 17 months now and I am desperate to stop, I have gone back to work part time and I feel so guilty as I see it as an escape from him.

One reasons I initally wanted to stop was to ttc (have not got my period back) but now I am having doubts about having any more DC as I dread bf them but I know I couldnt live with the guilt of formula feeding them.

Feeling very selfish and a failure of a mother tbh

BertieBotts Sun 25-Nov-12 13:55:23

Exactly Marzipan. It's better in that case to look at the chart where EBF drops off - you'll see that there's a shift over the past 20 years or so to later and later and quite a big shift when they did change the advice, it's now much less common for people to stop EBF before 4 months and a much higher proportion than that 1% figure suggests are EBF by 5 or coming up to 6 months.

MarzipanAnimal Sun 25-Nov-12 08:58:47

I don't think the 'ebf at 6 months' is a particularly useful statistic given that the advice is to start solids at around 6 months and when your baby shows signs of being ready. Plenty of BLW babies will start eating a bit before 6 months but I wouldn't consider that as a 'failure' to stick to the ebf guidelines

RosannaBanana Fri 23-Nov-12 13:31:56

I fed DS the longest of all my peer group- 15 months. Hoping to feed DD until around 2 years as per WHO guidelines!

poachedeggs Fri 23-Nov-12 13:26:23

I was horrified to read that only 1% manage 6 months EBF. I know things are improving but it's hardly a poorly publicised guideline.

Fed both of mine beyond 2 years (still feeding DD for now, who knows when it'll stop? !)

stopgap Fri 23-Nov-12 13:20:12

We're still going at 15 months. Our paediatrician was surprised, but of my eight mum friends, six are still nursing past a year (this is NYC).

Xenia Fri 23-Nov-12 10:33:16

Over a year with all 5 (and worked full time). They all stopped by about 2 or 18 months. I would have been happy to carry on.

UK rate as so,eone said above is about 3% over one year. We have the worst breastfeeding rates in Europe here.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Fri 23-Nov-12 09:38:40

I managed 14 months for DS1, 17 months for DD, and 30 months with DS2, which was 10 years ago so I really was a weirdo! Didn't self-wean, though, which I slightly regret as it would have been lovely for the DCs.

Just got to the stage where I made the decision for them each time - although that stage became later with each child.

BertieBotts Fri 23-Nov-12 09:28:23

If we're reporting lengths BTW grin

More milk than food until about 22 months (that was fun hmm) and DS is still hanging on for the occasional feed at 4. Out of our NCT group of 8, 4 got to somewhere around a year and 2 of us out of the 4 carried on past that - I think the other stopped at around 2, but maybe she's still secretly feeding too grin

BertieBotts Fri 23-Nov-12 09:25:28

Jelly there's some stuff about the methodology of the survey in the files of it (probably one of the appendices) - suffice to say as a sociology student who has briefly studied survey methodology, it's pretty good as they go and therefore should be mostly accurate. It isn't collected through health visitor contact but via a postal survey so less likely for people to lie etc as well as it's anonymous (I never told my health visitor that we co-slept because I'd done my research and didn't want a lecture!)

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