What % of children are bf until their 2nd birthday?

(56 Posts)
Winterclause Tue 14-Jan-14 18:41:19

Does anyone know?!

We were having a discussion today and I thought about 10% but my friend thought it was about 1%!

We did google but couldn't find anything specific to the uk!

shoom Tue 14-Jan-14 18:45:49

I'd be surprised if it's as high as 1%, I thought that was the number of babies exclusively bf to 6 months.

handcream Tue 14-Jan-14 18:46:28

I would be staggered if it is 10% - at 2 years old!

stargirl1701 Tue 14-Jan-14 18:48:20

In the UK? I would estimate 0.01%

clarinsgirl Tue 14-Jan-14 18:48:52

Don't know exactly but it will be significantly less than 1%. As Shoom says, think about 1% bf until 6 mnths.

Winterclause Tue 14-Jan-14 18:53:33

No I think the 1% at 6 months is ebf. So if your baby has had any sort of solid food before then they are then not classes as ebf! I think at least 25-30% of babies are still getting breastmilk at 6 months?

We did blw from about 22 weeks so although my baby never had any other milk but bm by 6 months she wouldn't have been in that 1%!

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 14-Jan-14 18:57:37

Good question and difficult to find a definitive answer. Globally it seems to be around 50% of human babies are still being breastfed at 2 years- many for a lot longer.

lilyaldrin Tue 14-Jan-14 19:09:14

Thinking of the 10 small children I know of from my immediate social/family circle:
All were breastfed to some extent
I think only one, if any, was ebf at 6 months
9 were breastfed at 3 months
5 were breastfed at 6 months
4 were breastfed at 12 months
2 were breastfed at 18 months
1 was breastfed at 2 years

I don't know how representative that sample is though!

Agree with you OP that "EBF" isn't a very good indication of how much breastfeeding is actually going on (probably even less so globally) as almost everyone I know, even the most enthusiastic breastfeeders, gave their baby some other kind of milk or food before 6 months.

Winterclause Tue 14-Jan-14 19:10:38

Attyestroke- yes we found 50-75% in some countries but we were debating about the uk!

It's just curiosity really! Out of our group of 10 , 4 of us are still bf at 18m +. We just couldn't find any uk numbers for anything over 12 months..

KingRollo Tue 14-Jan-14 19:11:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KingRollo Tue 14-Jan-14 19:26:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 14-Jan-14 19:31:24

Data is not collected for children being breastfed over 12 months- not through the UNICEF & Office for National Statistics.
The data collection programme stops at 12 months.

addictedtosugar Tue 14-Jan-14 19:34:45

Unicef feeding survey stops at 8-10 months, so I'm not even sure if the stats are collected. But since 12% are feeding at 4 months, presumably that removes the weaning not counting as ebf.

King what about the WHO recommendation of feeding for 2 years?

addictedtosugar Tue 14-Jan-14 19:35:14

Everyone has typed faster than me!

KingRollo Tue 14-Jan-14 19:40:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

canthaveit Tue 14-Jan-14 19:51:07

I would imagine very few. Dd fed until 15 months, which was the longest of anyone I knew. Ds currently still feeding at almost 15 months, no sign of home wanting to stop but I can't quote see it carrying on until 2 (not least because one nipple keeps getting very sore!)

I think the recommendations to breastfeed exclusively until 6 months have led to a lot of confusion, with most people seeming to aim to breastfeed until 6 months (not realising it isn't referred to as exclusive beyond that due to solids)

The department of health used to collect breastfeeding stats, its now nhs england. Two point are collected - initiation and 6-8 weeks. In england thats all there is but that will hopefully improve.

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 14-Jan-14 20:53:29

I'm almost the only person I know IRL who's bf past two years (and I've done so twice) and I have a lot of relatively militant bf type friends. The only other is a BFC and trainee HV.

What questions come up in the Infant Feeding Survey? I can't remember if they even asked.

IIRC the categories go up to "1 year +"

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 14-Jan-14 20:56:53

Seen other posts now.

A 52w maternity leave supports 6m ebf but does interfere with extended breastfeeding. A lot of nursing strikes in the second year are misinterpreted as self-weaning by exhausted mothers dragged in eight directions at once, who are secretly glad to be putting away the clicky bras for a bit.

Fantail Tue 14-Jan-14 21:00:29

What does the "at birth" refer to? Does it mean that you offer the breast or that actually the sole sustenance is from breastmilk for the first few days.

Thinking about my NCT group of 9, I think it would have been something along the lines of:

9 "at birth"
7 at 6 weeks
6 at 3 months (although 2 were offering breast and formula)
4 at 6 months
3 at 12 months
1 at 18 months
0 at 24 months

Fantail Tue 14-Jan-14 21:03:03

At 14 months my DD was down to one feed a day (at night) and had completely dropped that by 15 months. I had actually wanted to keep it up over the winter until she was 18 months, but yes I was relieved to stop. I don't feel bad about it.

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 14-Jan-14 21:04:56

I think "at birth" means "first feed". It was certainly recorded in my delivery notes.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Tue 14-Jan-14 21:06:06

How do they know though?

I have BF-ed DC2 and DC3 beyond age 2. But I will not be in any stats because no one (GP, HV) has asked me.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 14-Jan-14 21:08:05

100% in this house smile

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 14-Jan-14 21:08:57

At birth mean initiation of breastfeeding, ie even one feed.

I have seen hundreds of women feeding two, three four and five year olds, but I am a retired LLL counsellor so definitely not a representative sample- as most of that was within toddler breastfeeding support groups!

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Tue 14-Jan-14 21:12:33

We may have some research soon, I know in the study my DS2 is in, it's recording if a child has any breastmilk (and this study goes from 0-3 years, he's 2 years now) as part of it. Would be interesting to find out.

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 14-Jan-14 21:18:45

Ooh I'll look forward to that, Spork.

I bang on about this, but the fact that "they" only publish the 26w ebf figure isn't helpful, because it's knackered by one spoonful of mashed carrot confused

I think that collecting "any bm" data whenever infants are seen routinely by HCPs (weight clinics, jabs, checks) would encourage people. Ok maybe 1% are ebf at six months, but maybe 10% have some solids and then all their milk feeds from the breast and another 10% have a mixture of ff, bf and solids. So 26% are still bf (say) which makes you feel less unusual.

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 14-Jan-14 21:19:21


or that post but with better arithmetic...

Hedgehog80 Tue 14-Jan-14 21:21:40

Bf dd1 till she was 4
Ds1 till about 2.5
Dd2 2.5 as well
Ds2 21 months still bf.

It does make me exhausted though especially once they get to 18 mths as all still fed throughout the night.
Wil be pleased when ds stops. I've been pregnant and/or bf for the last 13years!

Barbeasty Tue 14-Jan-14 21:25:51

It's recorded when we go for jabs. There is a section on the vaccination page in the red book asking if they had any breast milk, and the page is torn out and kept by the nurse.

This was for the first MMR batch, so at 12 months plus, as well as the previous jabs.

The first 3 lots have boxes for totally, partially and not at all breastfeeding. The MMR one asks if breastfeeding at all at 1st birthday. Nothing on the booster page.

So data up to 1 yr is available, for the children who are vaccinated.

The DD watching QI next to me now and the little boy who was here at new year grin

Not sure how any one would collect figures because no one ever asks if your still BFing after a year.

At birth is feed within 48h

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 14-Jan-14 22:09:28

Barbeasty we have that box too. They don't bother asking.

lilyaldrin Tue 14-Jan-14 22:13:37

Agree with you Horatia - 34% of babies are breastfed at 6 months, which paints a very different picture to the 1% that EBF!

JanePurdy Tue 14-Jan-14 22:14:17

Barbeasty I've never been asked at vaccinations although the boxes are there. So I've breastfed two babies past the age of 2 & nobody knows. I know quite a few people who have fed over 2 years though.

lilyaldrin Tue 14-Jan-14 22:15:18

I've also never been asked at vaccinations, and his last vaccination (pre-school boosters) they didn't even write in the red book hmm

JanePurdy Tue 14-Jan-14 22:18:09

lilyaldrin they managed to record vaccinations my DD hadn't yet had complete with false dates confused

tiktok Tue 14-Jan-14 22:43:46

There are no UK-wide figures for post 9 mths. UK infant feeding survey done every 5 years collects up to 9 mths (iirc). The survey is not everyone in the UK - it is a sample of about 9000 mothers.

There are locally-collected figures in England and they may be done in different ways - they may use a return form from the red book or some other method. They may not actually collect data from each and every individual mother. The survey may be done on a sampling.

Just because you haven't been asked personally does not mean no one is collecting data.

KingRollo Wed 15-Jan-14 07:24:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Iwannalaylikethisforever Wed 15-Jan-14 11:51:27

I think it's difficult to gain an accurate answer because some people think to be still bf after 12 months is weird.
This really annoys me. I'm am more annoyed at lying to people saying I only feed at night to avoid scorn. My ds is 10 months and showing no signs of giving up.

atthestrokeoftwelve Wed 15-Jan-14 11:57:48

I gave up telling people in the end- even my HV and GP. Most of my close family thought I was weird. Only my OH and LLL friends knew.

duchesse Wed 15-Jan-14 12:08:23

Not very many. I know a fair few but that's more to do with the people I hung/hang around with (NCT/ Steiner types) rather than representative of the country at large.

duchesse Wed 15-Jan-14 12:09:24

In fact now I think about it my HV didn't ask me any more once DD reached the age of 6 months, so I doubt there are any accurate figures.

Rooners Wed 15-Jan-14 12:09:31

I don't know. Fair amount anecdotally, mainly at night, funnily enough many of the more 'baby led'? or maybe 'natural parenting' mothers I know (I mean those who consider breastfeeding very important, sorry, I can't think of a way to describe it) work in the university sector and are back at work fairly quickly, so are only able to do it at night really.

That's just where we live.

I fed my first to 16mo, second to 4 and a half, and third is only just one and still bf.

duchesse Wed 15-Jan-14 12:11:38

Gosh, if "at birth" means first feed, where does that leave DD3 who was fed exclusively on expressed milk through a NG tube for the first week of her life? Would she be recorded as bf?

Hmm good question. I understood the definition to be "put baby to breast within 48 hours". But then at 6 to 8 weeks it's "receiving breast milk". Strange.

Winterclause Wed 15-Jan-14 12:26:35

Thanks everyone!

kingRollo those kellymom charts are interesting. It says in Australia 9% are still bf at 18months and 5% at 2yo. And in the USA 8% are still bf at 18months.

I would think their stats would be similar to the UK so maybe 5% in the uk still bf at 2yo?!

Llareggub Wed 15-Jan-14 12:35:38

Hedgehog - I've been continuosly breast feeding for over 7 years and you are the first person I've heard that has done longer! DS2 is nearly 5 and still wants to carry on. I'd personally like him to stop now, but hey ho.

atthestrokeoftwelve Wed 15-Jan-14 12:39:55

Hi - another one here- I continuoulsy breastfed for 7 and a half years without a break over two pregnancies.

I'd have quite liked DD2 to have kept her promise about giving up when she started school.

However, she decided weekends and holidays didn't count!

She ended up carrying on for many years.

HoratiaDrelincourt Wed 15-Jan-14 12:52:43

Breast milk counts as breastfeeding.

Hedgehog80 Wed 15-Jan-14 13:35:44

It's exhausting! Got to the point now where I can't wait for ds2 to stop!

Mama1980 Wed 15-Jan-14 13:40:45

I know quite a few in my friendship group it's quite common. But it is quite a niche group- mothers who home educate and many are vegan, though I'm not personally.
I EBF both my birth children for 6 months and breastfed my ds1 until 4 1/2 years my youngest by birth is 13 months and I will breast feed him also until he autonomously weans himself.

Llareggub Wed 15-Jan-14 16:03:33

I'm not a niche home educating type at all. My trade marked approach to parenting (haha) is the path of least resistance. I carried on breastfeeding for 7 yrs because it was easier than stopping. It's why I ended up co-sleeping and BLW although I don't think it was called that with DS1.

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