This paper describes the pattern of infant feeding at discharge from care after birth and the characteristics of mothers who are at risk of low rates of breastfeeding.
Methods: Data were obtained from the NSW Midwives Data Collection for 2007. Information on infant feeding was obtained for babies who were alive at discharge from care after birth. Of 96 030 births reported, 93 505 (97.4%) were eligible for analysis. A descriptive analysis of factors associated with variations in breastfeeding was carried out.
Results: In 2007, 80% of babies were fully breastfed, 7% were partially breastfed, and 13% were not breastfed. Babies born to mothers with the following characteristics had relatively low rates of full breastfeeding: teenage mothers (69%); Aboriginal mothers (64%); mothers born in South-East Asia (71%), North-East Asia (72%) and Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia (74%); mothers who commenced antenatal care later than 20 weeks gestation (74%); mothers who smoked (67%); mothers who received general anaesthetic during delivery (67%); mothers who gave birth by caesarean section (76%); mothers living in the most socially disadvantaged areas (73%); mothers living in remote and very remote areas (73% and 76% respectively); and mothers of preterm infants (70%).
Conclusion: There is a need to improve overall rates of breastfeeding initiation in NSW. Particular attention and support needs to be given to the groups of mothers identified in this study as having relatively low rates of full breastfeeding.