1. In a population-based cross-sectional study in Canada, rates of exclusive breastfeeding for six-months found to be 35.6%, lower than the target of 50% by 2025

2. Factors associated with exclusive breastfeeding include bachelor’s degree (or higher degree), normal body mass index, being married and daily co-sleeping

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Breastfeeding is known to have many health, economic, and environmental benefits. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Health Canada recommended exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, with no other liquid or solid foods with the exception of nutritional supplements and medications. Females in Canada do not meet these recommendations, in a 2006-2007 survey, it was found that only 14.4% of females exclusively breastfed for at least six-months and 25% of those who initiated breastfeeding added liquids other than breastmilk within two weeks of delivery. The aim of this study was to examine rates of exclusive breastfeeding and factors associated with breast feeding duration. A survey was conducted including 5392 females aged 15-55 who had given birth in the five years preceding the survey. Exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months was the main outcomes, with other questions including any breastfeeding duration, and maternal characteristics. The study found that 35.6% of participants breastfed exclusively for six-months and 62.2% did any breastfeeding. Within the first month there was the largest decline in breastfeeding, and insufficient milk supply was given as the most common reason for breastfeeding cessation regardless of time of cessation. Factors associated with six-month exclusive breastfeeding included bachelor’s degree (or higher degree), normal body mass index, being married and daily co-sleeping. Although the rates of exclusive breastfeeding in Canada are below the target of 50% by 2025 and 70% by 2030, there has been an increase compared to the previous rates of 14.4% in 2006/7 and 26% in 2011/12. Continuing to identify factors that influence breastfeeding and tailoring interventions towards these factors may help Canadians reach the recommended targets in the future.

Click to read the study in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

Image: PD

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