Low Exclusive Breastfeeding Rates in Peel: Survey
BRAMPTON, ON. (Oct 4, 2012) – Results of a new breastfeeding survey by Peel Public Health found that while almost all Peel mothers initiate breastfeeding (97 per cent), few (23 per cent) breastfeed exclusively for six months as recommended by the World Health Organization and Health Canada.
“It is wonderful that the majority of mothers are choosing to initiate breastfeeding,” says Anne Fenwick, Director of the Family Health Division at Peel Public Health. “Breastfeeding is one of the best choices a mother can make for the health of her baby and herself.”
The survey revealed that education, household income and ethnic origin were all significant factors in choosing to breastfeed exclusively. Peel mothers with higher levels of education and higher incomes were more likely to breastfeed exclusively for six months. Mothers of European origin were more likely to exclusively breastfeed than those from other parts of the world.
Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding to age two years and beyond with the addition of complementary foods at six months of age, is recommended to maximize the health benefits for infants. Research shows breastfed babies are at a lower risk for respiratory, ear and gastrointestinal infections, and have a reduced risk for some long-term health issues.
“It is important for mothers to learn about breastfeeding in order to feel confident. This can help mothers overcome difficulties they may experience, especially since current mothers reported poor latching and not having enough milk as the most common reasons they discontinued breastfeeding before six months postpartum,” says Fenwick. “Programs such as those offered by Peel Public Health can help parents develop practical skills to meet their breastfeeding goals.”
Peel Public Health offers a variety of programs and services to help mothers initiate and maintain exclusive breastfeeding. New parents can get personalized breastfeeding support at Public Health Clinics in Mississauga and Brampton. Parents can receive peer telephone support through the Breastfeeding Companions program or can speak with a Public Health Nurse that specializes in breastfeeding by calling 905-799-7700. BreastfeedingInPeel.ca offers information and resources, including breastfeeding instructional videos in seven languages.
For a full version of the report: Breastfeeding Practices in the Region of Peel, presenting the results of Peel Public Health’s third breastfeeding survey, visit http://www.peelregion.ca/health/health-status-report/breastfeed-09-10/index.htm.
Peel Regional Council has proclaimed October 1-7 Breastfeeding Week in Peel. This proclamation corresponds with World Breastfeeding Week, an initiative of the World Health Organization and UNICEF, which is celebrated in over 170 countries worldwide.
The Regional Municipality of Peel was incorporated in 1974 on the principle that certain community and infrastructure services are most cost-effectively administered over a larger geographic area. The Region of Peel serves more than one million residents in the cities of Brampton and Mississauga and the town of Caledon. For more information on the Region of Peel, please call 905-791-7800, or visit peelregion.ca.