*Rates of breastfeeding at six months exclude women interviewed at less than six months postpartum.
**NL – exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months – use with caution.
Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Maternity Experiences Survey, 2006-2007. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/rhs-ssg/pdf/tab-eng.pdf – accessed July 21, 2017.
According to the Maternity Experiences Survey (MES***), 2006-2007, at 6 months postpartum, 54% of women in Canada were still breastfeeding – only 14% of women were breastfeeding exclusively.
Again, the percentage of women breastfeeding at 6 months postpartum generally increased from Eastern Canada to Western Canada.
In the Yukon, 74% of women were still breastfeeding at 6 months, 34% were breastfeeding exclusively.
In British Columbia, 68% of women were breastfeeding – 19% exclusively.
In Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, only about 35% were still breastfeeding at six months postpartum.
***The MES population consisted of birth mothers 15 years of age and older who had a singleton live birth in Canada during a three-month period preceding the 2006 Canadian Census of Population and who lived with their infant at the time of data collection. Using the 2006 Canadian Census, a stratified random sample of 8,244 women estimated to be eligible was identified. Of these women, 6,421 (78%) completed a 45-minute interview at five to 14 months after the birth of their baby, conducted primarily by telephone.
It is recommended that infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life – and that breastfeeding be continued for up to two years or longer with appropriate complementary feeding. This is important for the nutrition, immunologic protection, growth, and development of infants and toddlers.1
1Health Canada, Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, and Breastfeeding Committee for Canada. Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Six to 24 Months. 2012. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/infant-feeding/nutrition-healthy-term-infants-recommendations-birth-six-months/6-24-months.html – accessed July 17, 2007.