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L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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The ambition

Improve breastfeeding rates

Indicator: breastfeeding rates

  • % of mothers who are breastfeeding (either fully or partially) at 6-8 weeks

    Source of data: Health and Social Services Department

    ​All babies in Jersey are offered a 6-8 week development assessment by a GP, as part of these assessments breastfeeding status is recorded. Those babies who are being exclusively breastfed (ie; not receiving any formula milk, any other liquids or food) are recorded as being totally breastfed. Partially breastfed babies are those who are receiving breast milk as well as receiving formula milk, or any other liquids or food.


Long-term trend dial


Red means the long-term trend is heading in the wrong direction and the ambition is not being achieved. For example, it is going up instead of down.


Amber means one of the following:

  • there is insufficient data to identify a definite trend; at least three data points are required
  • there is no statistical significance to the level of change in the trend. For example, opinion-related statistics require a change of more than five percentage points between two different years to show real change
  • the desired trend is being realised but not at the pace required to meet a specified target, if one is set


Green means the long-term trend is heading in the right direction to achieve the ambition.

Latest progress flag


A flag appears when the long-term trend is positive but recent results would jeopardise progress, if they were to continue.

Long-term trend

Significant progress in the right direction

Status low

Latest progress

In 2017, the proportion of babies being breastfed rose to 60%

Find out more

Health benefits

The global public health recommendation is that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health, before starting mixed feeding alongside ongoing breastfeeding, where possible. There is comprehensive evidence to show that breastfeeding is linked to improved brain development, better educational outcomes and income in adulthood as well as better short and long-term health outcomes for both mother and child,

Health care costs

A study by UNICEF in the UK found that low breastfeeding rates led to an increased incidence of illness that had a significant cost to the NHS. The study concluded that investment in effective services to increase and sustain breastfeeding rates would pay for itself and save the NHS money within a few years. .


The decision to breastfeed is absolutely a personal choice for the mother. Across different regions of the UK, breastfeeding rates vary between 19% and over 81%. Such variation is not just down to personal choice, it is also about circumstances. This indicator helps promote a dialogue about barriers that might prevent mothers in Jersey from breastfeeding and supports evaluation of the impact of different interventions over time.

Breastfeeding at birth

In 2017, 78% of mothers breastfed their babies at birth in Jersey. This figure has remained essentially constant over the last five years.

Jersey was similar to the overall average for England; for the financial year 2016-17, breastfeeding initiation in England was 75%, with the English regions ranging from 38% to 97%.

Six to eight weeks

By 6-8 weeks - the focus of this indicator - 60% of Jersey babies were either partially (19%) or totally breastfeeding (41%) in 2017. Increases over the last two years mean the proportion of babies being breastfed at 6-8 weeks in 2017 was significantly higher than that in 2011.

In England, breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks was 44% on average for the 2016-2017 financial year (includes both partial and total breastfeeding), and ranged from 19% to 76% across the English regions.

More detail on breastfeeding in Jersey can be found in the Births and breastfeeding profile 2018.

Economic participation

High economic participation rates among women and limited maternity provision both influence breastfeeding rates.

Social attitudes

Women are encouraged to breastfeed if there is good quality social support in the community and an acceptance within society that breastfeeding is normal.

Education and support

Access to well-trained health professionals, support networks and a widespread understanding of the profound benefits of breastmilk, can all help.

  • ​Relevant health professionals including GPs and Paediatricians

  • Education practitioners

  • Parents / parents-to-be and wider family

  • Employers

  • Social Security Department

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