Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding rates in Devon overall compare well to the national average. There is however variation across Devon at all stages of feeding. Initiation of breastfeeding varies from 66.3% in Mid Devon to 83.3% in South Hams. At primary birth visit, which typically occurs around 10 to 14 days after birth, there is a drop off of 17% across Devon – ranging from 20% in Teignbridge to just fewer than 10% in North Devon and Torridge. Breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks ranges from 43% in Mid Devon to 57% in South Hams with a drop off again ranging from 15% to 4% from primary birth visit. Breastfeeding rates tend to be higher in black and minority ethnic groups, in older mothers, and in less deprived areas.

Table 8.3, Breastfeeding at birth, primary birth visit and 6-8 weeks by local authorities, 2013

Local AuthorityBreastfeeding initiationBreastfeeding at primary birth visitBreastfeeding at six to eight weeks
East Devon71.7%60.8%49.8%
Exeter72.1%57.2%53.3%
Mid Devon66.3%55.4%43.8%
North Devon75.0%65.0%54.4%
South Hams83.3%63.6%57.3%
Teignbridge78.9%58.1%48.0%
Torridge74.0%64.1%49.3%
West Devon80.0%63.6%56.7%
Devon77.8%60.3%51.1%

Source: Devon child health information systems and local maternity datasets