Latest infant feeding survey

(58 Posts)
showtunesgirl Tue 20-Nov-12 22:30:46 Makes for interesting reading.

showtunesgirl Tue 20-Nov-12 22:31:03
whatsoever Wed 21-Nov-12 09:19:56

It just links me back to this page?

showtunesgirl Wed 21-Nov-12 10:28:32

Really? It's working for me! Try going here: and then clicking on latest UK figures.

I'll have a read later - I was one of the respondents in this one.

Mathsdidi Wed 21-Nov-12 10:39:12

I was one of the respondents on this one too. I was one of the 1% still ebf at 6 months, but I am aware that that's because I never had any major issues that I needed help to spot as the bf support in our area can be rather hit and miss.

stargirl1701 Wed 21-Nov-12 10:49:18

It sums up my experience. Keen to bf but just experienced one disaster after another and gave up at 3 weeks. sad

DuelingFanjo Wed 21-Nov-12 10:49:52


"The initial breastfeeding rate increased from 76% in 2005 to 81% in 2010 in the UK. This includes all babies who were put to the breast at all, even if this was on one occasion only, and also includes giving expressed breastmilk."

Sadly I think this is the reason for the 'high' breastfeeding figures. The reality is surely different? On one occasion only?

"The prevalence of breastfeeding fell from 81% at birth to 69% at one week, and to 55% at six weeks. At six months, just over a third of mothers (34%) were still breastfeeding."

this is more positive though isn't it?

"Almost half (49%) of all mothers who had prepared powdered infant formula in the last seven days had followed all three recommendations for making up feeds (only making one feed at a time, making feeds within 30 minutes of the water boiling and adding the water to the bottle before the powder). This is a substantial increase since 2005 when 13% did so."

so this means 51% were probably doing it wrong?

"Solid foods tended to be introduced to younger babies among younger mothers and mothers from lower socio-economic groups. At four months, 57% of mothers aged under 20 and 38% of mothers in the routine and manual category and those who had never worked had introduced solids by this time."

this really doesn't surprise me at all.

"Just over one in ten (11%) mothers who had breastfed in public said that they had been stopped or been made to feel uncomfortable doing so. Nearly half of these mothers (47%) had encountered problems finding somewhere suitable to breastfeed."

What a shame sad

I had major issues with breast feeding at the start but realise in retrospect how lucky I was to have a really sensible team of midwives, both in the hospital and in the community, plus a speedy referral onto an excellent BFing counsellor within days of my DS's birth.

Thanks to them, I officially became one of the 1% yesterday gringringrin

Reckon I'll write them all a letter today to say thanks, actually...they probably don't often get feedback from 6 months down the track.

showtunesgirl Wed 21-Nov-12 13:03:12

How strict were they with regards to what was counted as EBF? DD had 30mls of formula on Day 3 and none after that. She is one tomorrow and still BF.

Ha! Same here showtunes! I still count that as EBF since it wasn't the start of a routine introduction of formula or solids at an early age.

DuelingFanjo Wed 21-Nov-12 13:55:26

I wondered that too. My hospital notes say DS left the hospital breastfed on demand but he was actually given formula within hours of his birth sad

showtunesgirl Wed 21-Nov-12 14:18:37

It's REALLY, REALLY stupid but it still bothers me that that happened. DD's birth was really shitty. 22 hours labour, half of which was back to back, EMCS and then sodding urinary retention. A lot of it was out of my control but I still feel as though somehow I "failed" and I'd love to think that I got BFing right. IYSWIM?

balkanscot Wed 21-Nov-12 14:25:41

Similar experience to stargirl1701. So, so wanted to BF but never quite managed due to problems which, despite my best efforts (going to BF clinics, MW visits, lactation consultants visiting home), couldn't get sorted. Ended up mixed feeding (EBM + formula top ups) for 12 weeks after which I had cracked physically & emotionally. Would have loved to have BF for at least 1 year (that was the original plan, anyway).

showtunesgirl Wed 21-Nov-12 14:32:53

So sorry for the posters that didn't have a good BF experience. sad

stargirl1701 Wed 21-Nov-12 14:41:01

My plan too balkanscot. sad

"The initial breastfeeding rate increased from 76% in 2005 to 81% in 2010 in the UK. This includes all babies who were put to the breast at all, even if this was on one occasion only, and also includes giving expressed breastmilk."

To be honest, I'm suprised that 29% are NEVER put the breast, not even once?

And where it says "At six months, just over a third of mothers (34%) were still breastfeeding" - does that mean any breastfeeding at all, or just EBF? Does that include mixed feeders and early weaners?

Also, surprised that so many (16%) had given follow-on milk at four months old. 1% had given cow's milk as a drink before 6 months too!

BrianButterfield Wed 21-Nov-12 19:12:34

Follow-on milk is cheaper, though, as it can be on offer in shops whereas stage 1 formula can't be. I would imagine that's the primary motivation for introducing it early.

VisualiseAHorse 1% are EBFers. The 34% still breast feeding include mixed feeders and early weaners as you say.

showtunesgirl Thu 22-Nov-12 09:58:16

I wonder what the percentage is then of people who feed over a year?

ChocolateCoins Thu 22-Nov-12 10:04:25

Id Like to know that too showtunes.

I've wondered about the ebf thing too, dd was given formula at 5 days, after a weight loss of 20% (according to the midwife. I now think she got it wrong but was too tired, terrified and naive to argue with her. I bitterly regret it now). I managed to get her back to ebf at 8 weeks and she was ebf at 6 months, and is still bf now, at 13 months. So I don't know where we fit into the stats.

Woodlands Thu 22-Nov-12 10:14:02

Yes, it's a shame it doesn't look beyond a year to see how many people carried on BFing. Although I wasn't selected for the survey, my son's birth was registered in August 2010 so it seems particularly relevant.

The statistic I was interested to see was that 88% of mothers had introduced milk other than breastmilk by 6 months - so 12% were still only BFing at that stage, even though most of those had introduced solids by then, giving a figure of only 1% EBF at 6 months. I always think that 1% figure is a bit misleading.

I was another one who had to top up with formula in the first week, under medical advice, and so was a bit gutted that it didn't count as EBF.

messtins Thu 22-Nov-12 10:28:26

I think although all the figures seem to have improved a bit, it tells the same old story - that the vast majority of new mothers want to breastfeed and start off breastfeeding, and in the first six weeks their intentions are scuppered by booby traps and lack of decent support. We know from other surveys that most women who stop breastfeeding in those early weeks would have liked to carry on for longer. How could they be better supported early on to allow them to reach their own BF goals?

mumnosbest Thu 22-Nov-12 10:36:01

Over 8yrs and 3 dc i've seen a huge attitude change with mums and proffessionals, sadly not for the better. 8yrs ago all my expectant friends really wanted to bf and midwives, hv's all talked about the benefits of bf. This year with dc3, the choice and preference of mum and 'do what's right for you' seems to have taken over (completely understand that bf isn't always possible or even practical). It just seems that many make up their minds to ff without ecen giving bf a chance. I was quite alarmed in hospital too by attitudes to bf and lack of support. With ds (8yrs ago) he didn't feed properly untill day 5. There was no panic and give him ff attitude. I was supported and helped to bf every day, he was cup fed a little eb milk to calm him but we got there. This year with dd2 (dc3) after day 1 of no bf they suggested ff, with no support and a chat on baby needing to feed soon. Out of 6 ladies in my room, i was the only one who left bf ing. 2 ff from the start. The other 3 tried bf but being first time mums and getting no support soon turned to ff. The girl/lady opposite broke my heart. She desperately wanted to bf but after a bad 1st night ds wouldn't feed and midwives told her not to get upset. He needed to feed and ff would be fine. That way at least they could go home angry sad

Sorry a bit long but a subject i feel strongly on. I've loved bf but if I had my first dc today don't think i'd have managed it sad

EauRouge Thu 22-Nov-12 12:44:40

The HCPs don't have the time or training to support BF. I mean FFS, we've barely got enough midwives to give birth safely, let alone breastfeed if we're having trouble. It's fucking shameful. It would take a massive increase in funding to increase BF rates. Sadly it's just not seen as worth it, despite the latest UNICEF report. There's also a prevailing attitude of 'FF is just as good' even though there are hundreds of studies to show that it isn't.

tiktok Thu 22-Nov-12 13:46:33

This is how the survey works: mothers (something like 10,000 of them, or getting on that way, which makes it a good survey) are asked among many other Qs, 'how was your baby fed at x weeks?' and if you, at that time, were giving breastmilk only, then you would say so, and you would go down in the survey as 'exclusively breastfeeding'. The survey is not interested in your history, so your baby could have had formula earlier for a short time, and he would still be 'ebf' for the purposes of the survey figures at x weeks.

I have not seen the current figures in detail but from previous knowledge, they do ask 'what age was your baby when he had other milk?' and you would put down '3 days' if your baby had formula at 3 days. So at that time, he was not excl bf, but he might be, age 10 days. Babies can go in and out of these categories, for the survey.

showtunesgirl Thu 22-Nov-12 14:51:42

So it's actually quite a difficult thing to quantify EBF?

Sleepstarved Thu 22-Nov-12 14:59:35

You are right mumnosbest women who want help breastfeeding in hospital but can't manage it right away are often scared into ff because 'baby needs to feed' and unsaid, 'we need your bed'.
You need to be really very determined in the face of all that to carry on trying to bf, most women are too exhausted, inexperienced and compliant to argue.

showtunesgirl Thu 22-Nov-12 15:07:37

I think it's also luck of the draw as to which hospital you are in. I had to choose between two hospitals. The hospital I went to had a lot of support available whilst the other hospital didn't. I have definitely seen a correlation as to which mums in my local area carried on BFing after the first few weeks depending on which hospital they went to.

tiktok Thu 22-Nov-12 15:07:38

showtunesgirl - well, you could easily quantify it by asking mothers 'has your baby ever had anything other than breastmilk?' but my understanding is (and I would need to check to be 100 per cent sure this is still true) that this is not what this survey asks.

neontetra Thu 22-Nov-12 15:08:11

I'm so sorry for all the women who had a poor experience of BF support in hospital, but I did just want to say that I had brilliant support, both then and afterwards from the community MW, HV and all the people at the BF Cafe at my local children's centre. I would never have continued without all this (and DH and my friends and family being supportive, too). The hospital I was in was the Horton in Banbury, and they were awesome! So sad not everyone has this kind of experience.

showtunesgirl Thu 22-Nov-12 15:10:21

tiktok, if that was the criteria then I would not be able to say that my DD was EBF. sad

tiktok Thu 22-Nov-12 15:12:09

showtunesgirl, your observations are born out by the research. There is a higher chance of babies leaving hosp. breastfeeding if the hospital is a UNICEF Baby Friendly hospital - the studies have been done comparing the stats.

Maintenance of bf seems unaffected, however.

tiktok Thu 22-Nov-12 15:19:50

Sorry, scrub that......showtunesgirl you said you noticed a difference in maintenance not initiation, and that does not seem to be a general thing, so far (if I remember the studies right).

tiktok Thu 22-Nov-12 15:21:15
showtunesgirl Thu 22-Nov-12 15:21:26

I would say that support once I was out of hospital was very patchy though.

The HV that came round on Day 2 told me not to eat beans in case I gave DD wind. hmm

showtunesgirl Thu 22-Nov-12 15:22:27

I kind of meant both. The mothers who went to the hospital didn't even initiate whilst the ones who went to the hospital I went to did.

I had no support in hospital. Gave birth in a birthing unit, only two midwives present, and was home within 4 hours of having the baby. Don't even think baby latched on in hospital! But, the next day (and the following 9), one of the midwives present at the birth came to check our BF skills.

I think, regarding the EBF thing (I would consider a baby who'd only had 1 or so bottles in the very early days to be EBF), they need to ask "In the last month, has you baby had milk other than breastmilk?"

fraktion Thu 22-Nov-12 16:42:44

Interesting (and slightly worrying) results.

There desperately needs to be more BF support either from HCPs or volunteer BFCs or peer supporters. I suspect that 50% of the time it's a problem that can be resolved by someone with a bit of knowledge and a lot of encouragement but there are too few. It's taken 10 months after the point where the LLL would consider me for training for me to start training as a BFC. I don't know how long it will take to complete and I suspect that is a funding issue too.

midori1999 Thu 22-Nov-12 19:12:55

I think low rates are depended on good support from health care professionals, something that is seriously lacking, although its not really the HCP's fault, their training and time can be very limited, which isn't really good enough. I also think rates at uptake and continuation are due to societal attitudes and the fact that most women don't know many or any other women who breastfeed or breastfed for very long. Confidence seems to be an issue and it's harder to overcome that when there's no one to tell you 'hey, don't worry, that's normal!'

You're both right, fraktion and midori - there is not enough support, but there are also not enough midwives. But, I do think this will get better as time goes by.

BadlyWrittenPoem Tue 27-Nov-12 21:14:03

I would say that there is too much focus on initiation rates and not enough on maintenance which I would guess is because hospital statistics are based on % initiation and on method of feeding when baby leaves hospital. I definitely believe that any breastfeeding is beneficial so if a mother who plans to FF gives one BF then that is great but it seems like there is all this propaganda* to get people to try it but then (based on the evidence that most people who stop would have liked to do longer) not adequate support to help people sustain it.

*In my most recent pregnancy I was not given any information antnatally about breastfeeding but there were posters all over the ward when I was admitted part way through my pregnancy and there was a DVD in the hospital waiting room. Both were just pushing people to try it (in a rather in your face kind of way) and didn't give any information that would help people practically to actually do it.

snowtunesgirl Tue 27-Nov-12 21:54:44

Yes, the Bump to Breast DVD is crap. It's just a propaganda DVD about how lovely and marvellous BF is but doesn't really show you HOW to do it. Only when you get into the special features bit does it tell you anything of worth.

AndMiffyWentToSleep Wed 28-Nov-12 00:15:27

I have just been told that the 1% ebf rate does NOT include those who took expressed breastmilk, only those fed from the breast directly every single time. Need to check that though. Quite odd if true, IMHO.

BadlyWrittenPoem Wed 28-Nov-12 06:16:31

AndMiffyWentToSleep, it's a long time since I read it and I wasn't particularly thinking about EBM at the time but the EBF was defined as whether they'd ever had anything other than breastmilk or medicines when I read it.

AndMiffyWentToSleep Wed 28-Nov-12 13:23:14

Yes Badly, that is exactly as I had thought. I'll have to go and have a proper read...

tiktok Wed 28-Nov-12 14:31:43

Andmiffy you are wrong. Bf for this survey is breastmilk feeding howrver it is done.

tiktok Wed 28-Nov-12 14:35:34

???? The dvd includes detailed info with graphics and film of the practicalities.

snowtunesgirl Wed 28-Nov-12 14:57:14

I found that part to be a tiny part of the DVD. The rest of it was about how "great" BF is. I really didn't find it a helpful tool in preparing to BF.

I had much better info from you and MN!

tiktok Wed 28-Nov-12 17:30:18

Thanks smile but I don't think you can have watched it properly. There are some sequences showing mothers who are enjoying bf, some info about health effects, and lots about expressing (it's very good on this), returning to work, getting your baby positioned and attached comfortably, how bf actually works and much more.

Independent eval says 99 per cent of women found it useful

I have nothing to do with this DVD, BTW! I have seen many bf dvds in my time and this is the most comprehensive and useful, IMO.

BadlyWrittenPoem Wed 28-Nov-12 18:53:05

I can accept that there may be useful info on the DVD but the bit playing on a loop in the hospital waiting room did not. Aside from the posters and DVD the only mention of breastfeeding in my antenatal care was when my MW asked if I would be breastfeeding when she did my home assessment for homebirth and I said yes. If my current baby had been my first I doubt I would be breastfeeding now never mind exclusively.

AndMiffyWentToSleep Wed 28-Nov-12 19:26:30

Oh tiktok, I'm so glad to hear it! It did seem utterly useless to define ebf as not including ebf!

tiktok Wed 28-Nov-12 20:31:47

BWP, tell the maternity unit, then - say the bf stuff on the loop would not be of any help. They need to know.

HannahBerry Wed 28-Nov-12 21:01:38

Before artificial infant feed (formula) went commercially mainstream (early 20th century), I wonder what the figures were then at 6 months?

And as an aside, did women experience these similar problems with breastfeeding before the commercialisation of formula?

Welovecouscous Wed 28-Nov-12 21:04:27

Love love love the best beginnings DVD - watches it before baby was born as it was given out by mw and it was just wonderful - detailed help with latching and hand expressing - have kept it to watch again before dc 2!

BadlyWrittenPoem Wed 28-Nov-12 21:35:30

Tiktok, I would but I have already made three extensive complaints with regard to maternity/antenatal care (all about much more major issues) so I fear it would just make me look like I was just looking for anything to complain about. IMO it shouldn't even be played in that waiting room - the first time I saw it I was waiting for a postnatal follow up after losing my baby at five months.

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