Duration of Exclusive Breastfeeding in Canada: Key Statistics and Graphics (2007-2008)

Key statistics and graphics on the duration of exclusive breastfeeding in Canada from the Canadian Community Health Survey, 2007-2008 are presented below. Footnote 1

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.

The duration of exclusive breastfeeding is a derived variable based on the MEX questions about length of breastfeeding and the introduction of liquids or solids. The data presented here are based on a new derived variable.

  • Twenty-three point one percent of mothers exclusively breastfed their last child for the recommended 6 months (24 to less than 28 weeks) or more.

Duration of exclusive breastfeeding, Canada, 2007-2008

Duration of exclusive breastfeeding by selected socio-demographic characteristics

The percent of mothers who exclusively breastfed their last child for the recommended six months varied by selected socio-demographic characteristics.

Household income

  • At the national level, no significant differences emerged in the percent of mothers who exclusively breastfed their last child for six months (or more) by income quintile. Footnote 2

Highest level of education attained

  • Significantly fewer mother's with less than a secondary education (12.1E%) breastfed their last child exclusively for six months (or more) than did women who were post secondary graduates (24.8%).

Exclusive breastfeeding for six months (or more) by income and education, Canada, 2007-2008

Cultural/racial background

  • Significantly more mothers of AsianFootnote 3 (32.7%) or others of a cultural/racial background Footnote 4 (34,3 %) breastfed their last child for six months or more than mothers of White (20.8%) cultural/racial backgrounds.

Aboriginal status

  • Among off-reserve Aboriginal mothers,Footnote 5 significantly fewer breastfed their last child exclusively for six months (17.5E %) than did non-Aboriginal mothers (23.5%).

Immigrant status

  • Significantly more immigrants, both recent (37.1%) and non-recent (29.5%), breastfed their last child exclusively for six months (or more) than non-immigrants (20.8%).

Exclusive breastfeeding for six months (or more) by cultural/racial background, Aboriginal status, and immigrant status, Canada, 2007-2008

Age

  • At the national level, the percent of mothers who breastfed exclusively for six months increased with increasing age. Significantly fewer mothers aged 15-24 (13.8 E%) and 25-34 (22.4%) breastfed their last child exclusively for six months than did mothers aged 35-55 (27.3%).

Marital status

  • The percent of married/common-law mothers (23.6%) and widowed/separated/divorced/single mothers (20.4%) who breastfed their last child exclusively for six months were similar.

Area of residence

  • Overall, significantly more mothers residing in urban areas (24.3%) exclusively breastfed their last child for six months than did mothers in rural areas (17.7%).Footnote 6

Exclusive breastfeeding for six months (or more) by age, marital status, and area of residence, Canada, 2007-2008

Percent of mothers who exclusively breastfed for six months (or more) by region

In 2007-2008, the percent of mothers who exclusively breastfed their last child for six months (or more) in the Atlantic Provinces and Quebec was significantly lower than the national average. The percent of mothers exclusively breastfeeding for six months (or more) was significantly higher than the national average in British Columbia.

Percent of mothers who breastfed or tried to breastfeed by region, Canada, 2007-2008

Reasons for stopping breastfeeding

The top three reasons cited by mothers for stopping breastfeeding their last child wereFootnote 7: 1) not enough milk (23.4%); 2) child was ready for solid food (15.9%); and, 3) child self-weaned (12.2%).

Reasons provided by mothers for stopping breastfeeding their last child, Canada, 2007-2008

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E - Data with a coefficient of variation from 16.6% to 33.3%; interpret with caution.

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