• Each year there are around 4,000 births to Wakefield mums
  • Breastfeeding rates in Wakefield District are low
  • Around half of women living in Wakefield District start to breastfeed their baby
  • Around a third of women living in Wakefield District are breastfeeding when their baby is 6 weeks old
  • Women living in the most deprived areas in Wakefield District have the lowest breastfeeding rates
  • Young mums are least likely to breastfeed
  • The Population

    On average there are around 4,000 births each year in Wakefield. Most women are aged between 20 to 30 years when they give birth. Birth rates are higher in the more deprived areas in Wakefield. More information about births can be found on the following here. Maternal behaviours such as smoking, breastfeeding and maternal weight have an impact on the health and wellbeing of both the mother and baby. Breast feeding saves lives, protecting the health of babies and mothers immediately and over time. It reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death (SID) and babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop infections. Longer term benefits of breast milk include a reduced risk of becoming obese, developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. For mothers there is a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers and hip fractures in later life. In Wakefield District around half of women start breastfeeding their baby, this falls to around a third of women breastfeeding when their baby is 6 weeks old. The diagram below shows the difference in breastfeeding rates by age of the baby, you can interact with the data by selecting different years from the menu on the right. p>

    The Challenges

    Breastfeeding rates in Wakefield District are low; fewer women start to breastfeed their baby than in many other areas, and fewer women are still breastfeeding by the time their baby is 6 weeks old.
    The way breastfeeding rates are measured has changed. Historically breastfeeding initiation was used to look at how many women were starting to breastfeed, this has now been replaced with two additional measures; baby's first feed (any breastmilk) and baby breastfed at discharge from hospital. Information showing how Wakefield District compares to other areas has not been published yet.

    The Inequality

    The following dashboards show there are inequalities in breastfeeding within Wakefield District.  The dashboards are interactive; choose the items you want to look at from the menus on the right of the page. If the charts disappear this means there isn't any data available for your selection and you need to choose different options. Explore breastfeeding by area - Women living in the most deprived areas have the lowest breastfeeding rates; fewer women living in these areas start to breastfeed and fewer women who do start are still breastfeeding when their baby is 6 weeks old. p>

    Explore breastfeeding over time - Because of the change  in the way breastfeeding rates are measured it's difficult to look at what's happened with women starting to breastfeed over time.  Breastfed at birth, reported by Health Visitors can be used to give an indication; this data suggests the percentage of women starting to breastfeed in Wakefield District has fallen in recent years. p>

    Explore breastfeeding by age - Young mums (aged under 20) are least likely to start breastfeeding. p>

    Explore breastfeeding by age of baby - The following dashboard shows how breastfeeding rates decline as the baby gets older, the biggest decline is between starting to breastfeed and when the baby is 10 days old. p>

    Service Provision

    0-19 service Maternity services provided by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust Community Infant Feeding clinics: run across the district, provided in partnership by FAB, Midwifery and Health Visiting Services, for mums experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding / needing advice and support with breastfeeding. Details listed on FAB website or ring 01924 851 901 Breastfeeding Friendly Scheme: More than 60 organisations including GP surgeries, coffee shops, libraries, and community centres have signed up for the Wakefield Breastfeeding Friendly scheme. The scheme is set up to ensure there are places in the district which are recognisably supportive to families who breastfeed their babies. Breastfeeding Friendly Schools: Currently trying to link the Breastfeeding Friendly Scheme with schools - research suggests that attitudes towards baby feeding are often formed in childhood. Our experience is that many young children are unaware that mothers can feed their baby themselves. The aim is to encourage schools to sign up to a breastfeeding friendly policy and display a breastfeeding friendly sticker to let new mums know they are welcome to feed their baby if baby gets hungry during a visit to school e.g. parent assemblies, sports days etc. There are lots of other ways for schools to be breastfeeding friendly – for example using resources that reflect breastfeeding as the cultural norm. Breastfeeding Peer support and Promotion Service provided by FAB incorporates: