Breastfeeding

Introduction

Breastfeeding contributes to the health of both mother and child. Current national and international guidance recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life.

Breastfeeding has a range of benefits to both the mother and baby, including:

  • A reduced risk of infections for babies, with fewer visits to hospital as a result
  • A reduced risk of diarrhoea and vomiting for babies, with fewer visits to hospital as a result
  • A reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • A reduced risk of childhood leukaemia
  • A reduced risk of childhood obesity
  • A reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood (for the infant)
  • A reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis (weak bones), cardiovascular disease and obesity for the mother

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Breastfeeding in Oldham

Oldham’s most recent breastfeeding report was published in November 2019 and can be read here.

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Breastfeeding Initiation

Breastfeeding initiation measures the amount of mothers who give their babies breast milk within the first 48 hours after delivery. Oldham’s breastfeeding initiation rate has remained lower than the England rate throughout the period shown in figure 1. Oldham’s most recent rate in 2016/17 of 66.6% was higher than the North West average of 64.5% and lower than the England rate of 74.5%.

Figure 1:Breastfeeding initiation 201011 to 201819

Oldham ranks 5th lowest across Greater Manchester for breastfeeding initiation with a rate of 66.6% (figure 2). Trafford ranks highest at 76%, Wigan lowest at 54.5%. Within Greater Manchester, only Trafford has a breastfeeding initiation rate above the England average.

Figure 2:Breastfeeding initiation GM 201617

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Breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks

Breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks measures the amount of infants who are totally or partially breastfed at 6-8 weeks of age. Oldham’s breastfeeding rate at 6-8 weeks has remained lower than the England rate for the past three years (figure 3). Oldham’s most recent rate in 2016/17 of 38.7% was similar to the North West average of 38.9% and lower than the England rate of 46.2%.

Figure 3:Breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks 201516 to 201819

Oldham ranks 3rd highest across Greater Manchester for breastfeeding initiation with a rate of 38.7% (figure 4). Stockport ranks highest at 48.8%, Wigan lowest at 30.2%. Within Greater Manchester, only Stockport has a breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks rate above the England average. Data for Rochdale and Trafford is not presented due to data quality issues.

Figure 4:Breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks GM 201617

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Breastfeeding at Ward Level

Inequalities exist within Oldham for breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks. Figure 5 displays the breastfeeding rate at 6-8 weeks across Oldham wards. Saddleworth South, Coldhurst and Saddleworth North have the highest rates, whilst St James’, Failsworth East and Chadderton South have the lowest rates.

Figure 5:Breastfed at 6-8 weeks 1819 Map

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National Data & Resources

PHE publishes quarterly breastfeeding statistics which can be accessed here. PHE also publishes a range of indicators related to breastfeeding, categorised by demographics, risk factors and outcomes. The indicators can be accessed here.

NHS Benefits of Breastfeeding information – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/benefits-breastfeeding/