• Each year there are around 4,000 births to women living in Wakefield District
  • Breastfeeding rates in Wakefield are low
  • The number of women starting to breastfeed their baby is falling, around half of women start to breastfeed their baby
  • Of those women who start to breastfeed their baby, more are still breastfeeding by the time 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 to women living in Wakefield.  Most women are aged between 20 to 30 years when they give birth.  Birth rates are highest in the more deprived areas.  More information on births can be found here.

Maternal behaviours such as smoking, breastfeeding and maternal weight have an impact on the health and wellbeing of both the mother and baby.  Breastfeeding 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 breastmilk 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 later in 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 the age of the baby.  You can interact with the data by selecting different years from the menu on the right.


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 separate measures; baby’s first feed (any breastmilk) and baby breastfed at discharge from hospital.  Information showing how Wakefield District compares to other areas for these measures 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.

Explore breastfeeding by area

Women living in the most deprived areas have the lowest breastfeeding rates; fewer women in these areas start to breastfeed and fewer women who do start are still breastfeeding when their baby is 6 weeks old.


Explore breastfeeding over time

Because there have been changes in the way breastfeeding rates are measures it’s difficult to look at what’s happened with women starting to breastfeed over a long period of time.  However, data suggests fewer women are starting to breastfeed their baby.



Explore breastfeeding by age

Young mums (aged under 20) are least likely to breastfeed.


Explore breastfeeding rates by age of the 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


Service Provision

In Wakefield Maternity Services (provided by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust), 0-19 Services (Provided by Bradford District Care Trust), and Breastfeeding Peer Support (provided by Families and Babies – FAB) work together to provide integrated breastfeeding support. To ensure women and their partners/supporters are fully informed and empowered to initiate and continue breastfeeding for as long as they choose and are able to access timely and appropriate support when problems arise.

Specialist Midwife and Health Visitor led Breastfeeding Clinics run across the district; alongside breastfeeding peer support groups run by FAB. These are for mums experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding / needing support with breastfeeding. Details listed on FAB website or ring 01924 851 901

Breastfeeding Friendly Scheme: More than 170 organisations including shopping centre’s,  GP surgeries, coffee shops, dentists, libraries, schools, early years settings 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 and to help to normalize breastfeeding for families in Wakefield. To see a list of Breastfeeding Friendly Venues or for more information visit

Breastfeeding Peer Support and Promotion Service provided by FAB incorporates:

  • Antenatal support – Visit to mothers prior to giving birth on a one to one basis. Also run independent courses consisting of 6 sessions for expectant parents, and their supporters, who are interested in finding out more about breastfeeding. FAB peer supporters can attend existing antenatal groups by invitation. Expectant parents are welcome at community breastfeeding groups
  • One to one home visits – FAB aim to contact every breastfeeding mother within 48 hours of discharge to offer breastfeeding support tailored to individual needs.
  • Daily Drop-in at FAB – 31 All Saints Walk, Floor 1 Green Carpark, The Ridings, Wakefield, WF1 1US. 9.30-3.30 daily
  • Weekend Support – one to one breastfeeding support is available in the FAB base each Sunday 9.30-3.30. Please call 01977 801359 on a weekend.
  • 24 hour helpline–FAB offer a 24 hour breastfeeding helpline for all mums in Wakefield, this is manned by trained staff and volunteers on a voluntary basis and the number is 01924 851901.
  • Breastfeeding Support Groups – Breastfeeding groups are available across the district on a daily basis. Please see our website for up-to-date group venues and times.
  • Breast Pump Loan Scheme – FAB facilitates Wakefield breast pump loan scheme. Pumps are available on short term loan to breastfeeding families who meet an agreed criteria and are referred by a health professional or FAB peer supporter following a breastfeeding assessment.
  • Online Forum – A closed group on Facebook for parents to access peer support online and also chat to other parents. Search FAB breastfeeding support
  • Peer Supporter Training – FAB offer accredited training opportunities to women who have breastfed and would like to volunteer and support other mothers.
  • FAB Centre – 31 All Saints Walk, Floor 1 Green Carpark, The Ridings, Wakefield, WF1 1US.
  • Wakefield Breastfeeding Voices – a service user involvement group using the experience of mums in Wakefield to enhance the local service offer.  Search for Wakefield Breastfeeding Voices on Facebook.

Community Assets

Resources & Evidence