MyGroupNI Portal | Home 15 August 2018
Infant Feeding Survey 2010: Summary

Summary of the key facts from IFS 2010 published in November 2012.  Click here for the  full report 


1.  The initial breastfeeding rate increased from 76 per cent in 2005 to 81 per cent 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.

2. The highest incidences of breastfeeding were found among mothers aged 30 or over (87 per cent), those from minority ethnic groups (97 per cent for Chinese or other ethnic group, 96 per cent for Black and 95 per cent for Asian ethnic group), those who left education aged over 18 (91 per cent), those in managerial and professional occupations (90 per cent) and those living in the least deprived areas (89 per cent).

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

4.  Mothers continued to breastfeed for longer in 2010 than was the case in 2005. The gap in breastfeeding levels at birth between 2005 and 2010 was five percentage points (76 per cent in 2005 compared with 81 per cent in 2010) and by six months the gap became nine percentage points (25 per cent in 2005 compared to 34 per cent in 2010). This suggests that policy developments to improve support and information provided to mothers to encourage them to continue breastfeeding may have had an impact.

5. Across the UK, 69 per cent of mothers were exclusively breastfeeding at birth in 2010. At one week, less than half of all mothers (46 per cent) were exclusively breastfeeding, while this had fallen to around a quarter (23 per cent) by six weeks. By six months, levels of exclusive breastfeeding had decreased to one per cent, indicating that very few mothers were following the UK health departments' recommendation that babies should be exclusively breastfed until around the age of six months.

6.  There has been an increase in the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding at birth (from 65 per cent in 2005 to 69 per cent in 2010), but there has been little change thereafter up until six weeks. However, the fall-out rate in later months was lower in 2010 than 2005. For example, at three months, 17 per cent of mothers were still breastfeeding exclusively (up from 13 per cent in 2005) and at four months, 12 per cent were still breastfeeding exclusively (up from 7 per cent in 2005).