Map of Simcoe Muskoka

Pregnancy and Before

Breastfeeding Initiation

Overall
By Maternal Age
By Parity
Other Factors

Health Canada recommends that children are fed only breast milk until the age of six months, with complementary foods added at that time and continued breast milk to two years and beyond.  Breast milk initiation rates are defined as what baby is fed from birth to discharge from hospital or three days post-partum for home births. Multiple factors affect breast milk initiation rates including intrapartum factors (type of birth, skin-to-skin contact, supplementation) and social determinants of health such as income. For more information on how to breastfeed and where to find support, see the health unit’s website on breastfeeding.  The data on this page are from the Better Outcomes Registry & Network (BORN).

Overall

A large majority of new parents in Simcoe Muskoka provide some breast milk to their infants. In 2018, the ‘any’ breast milk initiation rate in Simcoe Muskoka was 92.0% (91.2% - 92.8%). Ontario has a similar ‘any’ breast milk initiation rate of 92.3% (92.2%, 92.5%).

In 2018, 68.3% (67.0%, 69.6%) of newborn infants born to Simcoe Muskoka parents were fed exclusively breast milk from birth to discharge.  The Simcoe Muskoka exclusive breast milk initiation rate is higher than the Ontario rate of 60.6% (60.3%, 60.9%) and has not changed since BORN started collecting data in 2013. Almost a quarter (23.7% (22.5%, 25.0%)) of newborn infants were fed a combination of breast milk and a substitute while in hospital including 7.3% (6.4%, 7.8%) who were provided a breast milk substitute due to infant medical reasons. This combination feeding rate in Simcoe Muskoka is significantly lower than that of Ontario.&

20150710InfantFeedingTypeFromBirth-Discharge_SM_ON

There have been incremental increases in the ‘any’ breast milk and combination feeding initiation rates in Simcoe Muskoka between 2014 and 2018.  Correspondingly, there was decrease in the ‘no breast milk’ rate from 10.2% (9.4%, 11.2%) in 2014 to 7.9% (7.1%, 8.7%) in 2018.

Prior to 2014, initiation data was collected using the CCHS, which show that the ‘any’ breast milk initiation rates increased by 5% in Ontario and more than 10% in Simcoe Muskoka between 2000/01 and 2011/12.

20150622BreastfeedingInitiationRate_SM_ON

By Maternal Age

Babies born to the parents in the youngest age group (15-24 years old) have a higher ‘no breast milk’ initiation rate (12.8% (10.1%, 15.8%)) than those born to parents in the older the age groups (25-34 years: 2.8% (6.9%, 8.8%); and 35+ years: 7.6% (6.0%, 9.4%)). The differences across age groups in the other feeding type categories is not significant.

Analysis on another source of initiation data (SMDHU Infant Feeding Surveillance data) showed that when all other factors were held constant, babies born to parents in the oldest age group (35+ years) were less likely to initiate exclusive breast milk than babies born to mothers in the youngest age group (15-24 years). This is not reflected in the graph below because exclusive breast milk initiation and age are also influenced by factors such as parity, birth type and income so the relationship between exclusive initiation and age is clouded (confounded) by these factors.

20150710InfantFeedingBirth-DischargeByAge_SM

By Parity

Babies born to second time parents have a higher exclusive breast milk initiation rate (69.9% (67.8%, 72.0%)) than babies born to first time parents (63.9% (61.8%, 66.0%)). Despite their lower intention rates, second time parents have higher exclusive initiation and duration rates compared to first time parents, likely because intention is informed by the experience with the previous baby and therefore intention is a more accurate predictor of feeding type with second babies.  Babies born to first time parents have a higher combination feeding rate (29.1% (27.1%, 31.1%)) compared to second time parents (20.9% (19.0%, 22.8%)), and a lower ‘no breast milk’ rate (6.4% (5.4%, 7.6%)) compared to second time parents (8.6% (7.4%, 10.0%)).

20150710InfantFeedingBirth-DischargeByBMI_SM

Other Factors

Analysis on another source of initiation data (SMDHU Infant Feeding Surveillance data) showed that when all other factors were held constant, the following five factors were independently associated with higher exclusive breast milk initiation rates in addition to maternal age (explained above) and parity. (These are the same factors that were independently associated with breast milk duration)

  • Income:babies born into families with an annual after-tax income of less than $60,000 were less likely to be fed exclusively breast milk at initiation than those born to families with higher incomes.
  • Birth Type:babies born by caesarean section are less likely to be fed exclusively breast milk than those who were born vaginally
  • Gestational Age:babies born before 37 weeks gestation are less likely to be fed exclusively breast milk at initiation than those born full term (37+ weeks gestation).