Only four in 10 mothers still breastfeed babies of up to eight weeks despite health guidance
The number of women in England still breastfeeding six to eight weeks after the birth of a child has declined, according to Public Health England (PHE).
Just over four in 10 mothers (42.7%) breastfeed their babies when they are six weeks old, according to 2017-18 data. The rate was 43.1% in 2015-16 and 43.8% for 2014-15.
However, the figures reveal stark disparities in breastfeeding rates in different regions – eight in 10 babies were being breastfed in Tower Hamlets in east London, compared with fewer than one in five (18.9%) in Knowsley, Merseyside.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends mothers should exclusively breastfeed babies for the first six months until the children start eating solids, then supplementary breastfeeding is encouraged up to two years or beyond...