March 25, 2009

Most Canadian new moms quit breastfeeding

Most Canadian women have a positive experience during labor and birth, but few breastfeed their babies past 6 months as advised, a survey indicates.

Dr. Catherine McCourt, director of health surveillance and epidemiology with the Public Health Agency of Canada said the survey, which involved 45-minute interviews with 6,421 women nationwide, found 14 percent of new mothers are exclusively breastfeeding their babies at age 6 months, as the health agency recommends, the Toronto Star reports.

Ninety percent of new mothers started out exclusively breastfeeding their newborns, but 21 percent had introduced formula or water within the first week, a number that rose to 86 percent by six months, the survey, conducted between October 2006-January 2007, says.

Edith Kernerman, co-director of the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute, in Toronto tells the Star that she's not surprised by the survey, given the large amount of conflicting advice new mothers receive.

They are absolutely bombarded with contradictory advice on how to feed, Kernerman says, noting that it is not unusual for different healthcare providers in a single hospital to offer different instructions.

Kernerman notes that Ontario lags behind other provinces in developing a breastfeeding policy that would allow for the dissemination of best practices by healthcare providers.