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Breastfeeding Status of Infants

Breastfeeding of infants at discharge from hospital and various stages up to 12 months, by postcode at birth, mother's age group, place of birth/hospital and deprivation quintile

In line with 'Healthy Child, Healthy Future - A Framework for the Universal Child Health Promotion Programme in Northern Ireland' a new system was implemented to improve reporting systems to provide a better picture of infant feeding in 2010.

Information on infant feeding status is now collected at the following time points after birth;

  • Discharge from hospital
  • First visit by health visitor (10-14 days)
  • 6-8 weeks
  • 14-16 weeks
  • 6 months
  • 12 months

The data on the breastfeeding status of infants at these various stages is available by a number of different breakdowns:

  • By postcode sector (e.g. BT1) of the infant at time of birth
  • By the mother's age group at the time of birth
  • By the place of birth*
  • By the deprivation quintile of the infant at time of birth

* Data on whether breastfeeding was attempted before discharge from hospital is also available by the place of birth.

This data is available for each of the years 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16. (2015/16 data is available only at discharge stage).

Sources

Data on the breastfeeding status of infants is sourced from the Northern Ireland Child Health System (CHS) (from the Health and Social Care Trusts). CHS records births of all infants living in Northern Ireland, whatever the location of birth.

Data on breastfeeding attempted is sourced from the Northern Ireland Maternity System (NIMATS), as this is not recorded on CHS. NIMATS only records births in NI hospitals or at home.

Definitions

Breastfeeding status:

  • Full: Totally breastfed is defined as infants who are exclusively receiving breast milk (this may be expressed breast milk) that is, they are NOT receiving formula milk, any other liquids or food.
  • Partial: Partially breastfed is defined as infants who are currently receiving breast milk (this may be expressed breast milk) and who are also receiving formula milk or any other liquids or food.
  • Not at all: Not at all breastfed is defined as infants who are not currently receiving any breast milk.

Breastfeeding attempted: Breastfeeding is considered to have been initiated if the baby has been put to the breast or received mother’s breast milk.

Data notes

  • Data provided refers to live infants only.
  • Data refers to Northern Ireland residents only.
  • Data for some years show higher numbers of records where feeding status is not known/recorded.  Some possible reasons for this include: visits not being made by Health Visitors at certain stages, the question on breastfeeding not being asked of the mother at each visit, or the data not being recorded. While the level of recording appears to have improved across the time period,  the need to improve recording of breastfeeding data is recognised.
  • 2015/16 data: The CHS data included has been provided to the Public Health Agency on an annual basis (in June) by Health Trusts.  As such, data for later stage breastfeeding is not yet available to the PHA for 2015/16 (for example, a child born by the end of 2015/16 would not yet have reached 12 months of age).
  • Place of birth: Data for Erne and South West Acute Hospitals have been combined for 2012/13. The total number of infants may not sum up for a number of possible reasons including for example, CHS records births of all infants living in Northern Ireland, whatever the location of birth, whereas NIMATS only records births in NI hospitals or at home. PHA only receives one download of births per year (at a point in time) and this is being compared to "live" data from NIMATS.

Data and Resources

Dataset Info

These fields are compatible with DCAT, an RDF vocabulary designed to facilitate interoperability between data catalogs published on the Web.
FieldValue
Author
Public Health Agency
Modified Date
2017-05-02
Release Date
2017-04-12
Frequency
Annually
Identifier
778215d2-318e-4cac-96dc-48d14be9243d
Licence
Licence Not Specified
Rights Statement

Data from Public Health Agency Northern Ireland.

Open Definition
No
Topic
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area (WKT)
POLYGON ((-8.16926 55.4436, -5.08667 55.4436, -5.08667 53.8702, -8.16926 53.8702, -8.16926 55.4436))
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
Northern Ireland
Temporal Coverage
01/04/2012 to 31/03/2016
Language
English