There was much to-do last year when world breastfeeding rates were published in the media and the UK ranked as the lowest in the world.
Here are some of the figures released:
- As of 2010, 81% of babies in the UK were breastfed at birth
- At three months, the number of mothers in the UK breastfeeding exclusively was 17% and at four months, it was 12%
- Exclusive breastfeeding at six months remains at around 1%
- After one year, 0.5% of UK women is still doing any degree of breastfeeding. This compares with 23% in Germany, 56% in Brazil and 99% in Senegal
As you can see, it seems that the issue is not that women don’t want or try to breastfeed – there is a huge percentage starting off with breast. But the continuation rate for breastfeeding is shockingly low.
I’m currently on an extended trip to Taiwan – I’m here for about three months here in total where my baby will be 4-7 months – and I was amazed to learn how good the breastfeeding rates are here.
Rates in Taiwan:
- In 2016, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months was 45.5%
- This is above the global average of 38% and just short of the WHO’s 2025 goal of 50%.
What has driven this high breastfeeding rate?