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Food and Nutrition

Trends in Breastfeeding Practices in Canada (2001 to 2009-2010)

Trends in Canadian breastfeeding practices between 2001 and 2009-2010 from the Next link will take you to another Web site Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) are presented below.Footnote 1

Trends in breastfeeding practices may be difficult to detect with data from only four or five points in time. In the descriptions below, a difference between two estimates is considered statistically significant when the 95% confidence intervals do not overlap.

Breastfeeding initiation

Mothers are considered to have initiated breastfeeding if they breastfed or tried to breastfeed their last child, even if only for a short time.

  • The percentage of mothers who reported breastfeeding or trying to breastfeed their last child increased significantly between 2001 (81.5%) and 2003 (84.9%) but remained stable between 2003 and 2009-2010.

Percentage of mothers who breastfed or tried to breastfeed their last baby, Canada, 2001 to 2009-2010

Percentage of mothers who breastfed or tried to breastfeed their last baby, Canada, 2001 to 2009-2010

Based on information provided by females aged 15 to 55 who had a baby in the last 5 years.

Source: Health Canada
Data Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Community Health Survey, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007-2008, 2009-2010

Duration of exclusive breastfeeding

Exclusive breastfeeding refers to the practice of feeding only breast milk (including expressed breast milk) and allows the baby to receive vitamins, minerals or medicine. Water, breast milk substitutes, other liquids and solid foods are excluded.

In 2004, Health Canada issued a recommendation that "exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of life for healthy term infants."

Prior to the 2004 recommendation, Health Canada recommended exclusive breastfeeding for the first 4 to 6 months of life. Due to these differing recommendations, both exclusive breastfeeding for four months (or more) and for six months (or more) are presented below to compare the percentage of mothers who exclusively breastfed in each cycle.

The duration of exclusive breastfeeding is a derived variable based on the Maternal Experiences - Breastfeeding (MEX) questions about length of breastfeeding duration and introduction of liquids or solids. The derived variable specification changed in CCHS 2009-2010 and was used when looking at trends in breastfeeding duration across all cycles of CCHS.Footnote 2

  • The percentage of mothers who exclusively breastfed for 4 months (or more) increased between the reporting periods 2003 (37.3%) and 2005 (43.1%), but remained stable between the reporting periods 2005 (43.1%) and 2007-2008 (42.8%) and 2007-2008 (42.8%) and 2009-2010 (44.2%).
  • The percentage of mothers who exclusively breastfed for 6 months (or more) increased between the reporting periods 2003 (17.3%) and 2005 (20.3%), but remained stable between the reporting periods 2005 (20.3%) and 2007-2008 (23.1%) and 2007-2008 (23.1%) and 2009-2010 (25.9%).

Percentage of mothers who exclusively breastfed for 4 months (or more) and 6 months (or more), Canada, 2003 to 2009-2010

Percentage of mothers who exclusively breastfed for 4 months (or more) and 6 months (or more), Canada, 2003 to 2009-2010

Based on information provided by females aged 15 to 55 who had a baby in the last 5 years.
Exclusive breastfeeding refers to the practice of feeding only breast milk (including expressed breast milk) to babies. The duration of exclusive breastfeeding is a derived variable based on questions about length of breastfeeding and the introduction of liquids or solids.

Source: Health Canada
Data Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Community Health Survey, 2003, 2005, 2007-2008, 2009-2010

Vitamin D supplementation of breastfed infants

Vitamin D supplementation refers to the recommended practice of providing breastfed infants with a supplement containing 10 μg (400 IU) of vitamin D. Although it is recommended that all breastfed infants receive a supplement containing vitamin D, between 2003 and 2010, the CCHS collected data on vitamin D supplementation only when a baby was fed only breast milk.

  • The percentage of mothers who reported providing a vitamin D supplement when their baby was fed only breast milk increased across every data collection period since 2003. It rose from 52.8% in 2003 to 61.3% in 2005 to 67.0% in 2007-2008 to 74.1% in 2009-2010.

Percentage of breastfeeding mothers who provided a supplement containing vitamin D, Canada, 2003 to 2009-2010

Percentage of breastfeeding mothers who provided a supplement containing vitamin D, Canada, 2003 to 2009-2010

Based on information provided by females aged 15 to 55 who had a baby in the last 5 years.
Mothers were asked if they gave their baby a vitamin supplement containing vitamin D when their last baby was fed only breast milk.

Source: Health Canada
Data Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Community Health Survey, 2003, 2005, 2007-2008, 2009-2010

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Footnotes

Footnote 1

The Share Files from Le lien suivant vous amne  un autre site Web Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007-2008, and 2009-2010 were used in deriving the estimates.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

The duration of exclusive breastfeeding was determined using the Le lien suivant vous amne  un autre site Web derived variable 'Length of exclusive breastfeeding'. The specification of the derived variable changed in 2009-2010.

Return to first footnote 2 referrer