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Thread: "Extended Breastfeeding" Statistics?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    103

    Default "Extended Breastfeeding" Statistics?

    Are there any statistics available for children breastfed beyond the first year? I have had no problems finding percentages of children breastfed at 6 months or 12 months, but beyond 12 months and especially stats beyond 24 months seem to be impossible to find.

    Is this because pediatricians no longer ask whether a child is breastfed? According to the graphic I found on Kellymom there are no children in the united states breastfeeding at 24 months. That can't be correct.
    Nursling: Kevin (March 2012)

  2. #2

    Default Re: "Extended Breastfeeding" Statistics?

    I don't think there are any, it's so rare in the Western world. Pediatricians or PHNs/ PHVs ask when they know their numbers will be calibrated so it depends what figures whichever health service is looking for. Usually they want to see what effect a campaign to promote bf has had, and whether they're meeting targets so they're always going to be more focused on younger babies when formula is such a common choice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!
    Posts
    17,464

    Default Re: "Extended Breastfeeding" Statistics?

    I breastfed my son until he was 4.5 years old. He's 8. He still remembers it and talks about it.

    Way too lazy for formula

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    368

    Default Re: "Extended Breastfeeding" Statistics?

    I'm using a dataset from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Surveys, which is the major input into our Health Canada data (the equivalent of the US National Institutes of Health). The cumulative distribution of duration of non-exclusive breastfeeding is as follows:

    <1 week: 6.8%
    1-2 weeks: 6.8%
    3-4 weeks: 7.5%
    5 to 8 weeks: 5.9%
    9-12 weeks: 3.5%
    3 months: 6.9%
    4 months: 4.8%
    5 months: 3.3%
    6 months: 11.2%
    7 to 9 months: 12.8%
    10 to 12 months: 15.2%
    > 1 year: 15.4%

    So, 30.5% of women finish breastfeeding before 3 months, 45.5% finish by 6 months, and only 15.4% of Canadian women breastfeed past a year. Furthermore, only 25.7% of women breastfed exclusively to the WHO recommendation of 6 months in Canada in 2012. (This number isn't much better if you only consider women with a university education: 25.1% of university educated mothers exclusively breastfed to 6 months, and 20.5% breastfed beyond 12 months).

    The mean age at which children were fed complementary solids was in the 5-6 months range, but the average Canadian infant is given liquids other than breastmilk starting at 3 months. I suspect this means that we aren't giving good breastfeeding support to mothers, and they're turning to formula to supplement breastfeeding. By 6 months, 75% of children are being given complementary liquids. These are pitiful results for a country that legislates social security-supported maternity leave for up to a year.

    I suspect the reason we don't see data past 1 year is because sample sizes become too small to become statistically tenable. There are only 349 women responding to "breastfed > 12 months" in my sample of almost 62,000. It gets too expensive to identify the relevant households by current survey methods.

    As for anecdata, I'm nursing my almost-2y8mo son, and I suspect (and hope!) we'll be going strong past the 3 year mark, at least.
    Last edited by @llli*alphawoman; June 19th, 2014 at 01:42 PM.

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