Map of Simcoe Muskoka

Pregnancy and Before

Breastfeeding Initiation

Overall
By Maternal Age
By Education
By Maternal Smoking Status
By Maternal Body Mass Index (BMI)
Technical Notes

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 breastfeeding to two years and beyond.

Overall

According to the Better Outcomes Registry & Network, in 2014 89.8% (88.8%, 90.7%) of new mothers in Simcoe Muskoka initiated breastfeeding with their newborn, with 68.7% (67.3%, 70.1%) exclusively breastfeeding. Ontario’s overall breastfeeding initiation rate is similar at 90.7% (90.5%, 90.9%). However, Ontario’s exclusive breastfeeding rate is significantly lower than Simcoe Muskoka’s at 61.9% (61.6%, 62.2%).

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According to the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), the breastfeeding initiation rate in Simcoe Muskoka has not drastically improved over the twelve year period from 2000/01 to 2011/12.  During this time, Simcoe Muskoka’s rate of breastfeeding initiation increased from 75% (63.9%, 84.1%) to 89% (78.5%, 94.7%), although this difference is not statistically significant.  However, Ontario’s initiation rate increased significantly from 83% (80.5%, 84.8%) in 2000/01 to 88.6% (86.1%, 90.6%) in 2011/12.

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By Maternal Age

Among new mothers aged 15-24 years, 84.0% (81.2%, 86.5%) initiated some breastfeeding with their newborn (exclusive or combination). This was significantly lower when compared with the breastfeeding initiation rates of older new mothers, aged 25-34 years (91.3% (90.2%, 92.3%)) and 35-49 years (89.1% (86.6%, 91.3%)).

Seventy percent (70.5% (68.8%, 72.2%)) of new mothers aged 25-34 years were exclusively breastfeeding upon discharge from the hospital or birthing centre. This was significantly higher than both older new mothers (aged 35-49 years) (64.0%, 60.3%, 67.6%) and younger new mothers (aged 15-24 years) (65.1% (61.6%, 68.5%). Older new mothers were more likely to combination feed (25.1% (22.0%, 28.5%) than mothers in other age groups, and young mothers were more likely to use breast milk substitutes, including formula (16.0% (13.5%, 18.8%).

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By Education

Although not a statistically significant difference in breastfeeding initiation rates by level of education, there is a trend towards higher initiation rates as level of education increases.  According to the CCHS, among recent mothers with a high school education, 83% (73.8%, 91.5%) report initiating breastfeeding compared to 93% (85.4%, 99.9%) of recent mothers earning a degree or higher.

By Maternal Smoking Status

According to BORN, over 90% (91.7% (90.8%, 92.6%)) of non-smoking new mothers reported breastfeeding their newborn (exclusive and combination) in 2014, which is significantly higher than new mothers who smoke (73.9% (69.6%, 77.8%)). Non-smoking mothers were also more likely to exclusively breastfeed, while smoking mothers were more likely to feed their newborn using breast milk substitutes.

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By Maternal Body Mass Index (BMI)

New mothers with a pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) in the obese category (I, II or III) were significantly less likely to exclusively breastfeed than new mothers in other BMI categories (underweight, normal, overweight). In 2014, 13.5% percent (11.2%, 15.9%) of new mothers with an obese BMI reported using breast milk substitutes compared with only 8.2% (7.0%, 9.5%) of new mothers with a normal BMI.

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For more information on Adult BMI, please see our
Adult Body Mass Index (BMI) page.

Technical Notes

Trends (data over multiple years) of breastfeeding initiation are currently not available from the Better Outcomes Registry & Network data source. As the Canadian Community Health Survey has been conducted for over 10 years, it can provide estimates on our population over time (trends) and by socioeconomic factors (e.g. education and income).