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Local data on breastfeeding initiation rates

  • Last modified date:
    11 March 2009

The Government recognises the important contribution which breastfeeding can make to the health of mothers and infants and has adopted the WHO recommendations to encourage exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.

The Government has a commitment in the NHS Plan to increase support for breastfeeding as part of its strategy to reduce health inequalities and has set a target in the Priority and Planning Framework to increase breastfeeding initiation rates by 2% per year, focusing particularly on women from disadvantaged groups.

To enable this target to be measured the Department of Health has published Local delivery Plans which require the NHS to return local data on breastfeeding rates. Each Primary Care Trust (PCT) is required to submit quarterly data on the number of maternities, the number of mothers initiating breastfeeding and the number of mothers not initiating breastfeeding.

This data is also sent to Regional Directors of Public Health, Strategic Health Authorities, and the national network of Breastfeeding Co-ordinators.

Clarification of definitions of breastfeeding initiation

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