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Canada's breastfeeding dashboard

Cover of Canada’s Breastfeeding Progress Report 2022 shows an illustrated child being breastfed.

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(PDF format, 4.32 MB, 7 pages)

Published: 2022-11-04

This dashboard is a companion piece to Canada’s Breastfeeding Progress Report 2022. It presents data about breastfeeding in Canada, including related factors such as age, education and immigration status. The data is from the 2017-2018 Canadian Community Health Survey. It reflects information gathered from survey respondents who were between the ages of 15 and 55, identified as female, and had given birth in the previous 5 years.

On this page

Overview

Breastfeeding is important for the short-term and long-term health of babies, young children and parents. Experts recommendFootnote 1 that babies be fed:

Global breastfeeding targets aim to increase the rate of 6-month exclusive breastfeeding to at least 50% by 2025, and to 70% by 2030Footnote 2Footnote 3.

Key findings

91%

of babies in Canada started out breastfeeding

62%

of babies in Canada were breastfed for at least 6 months

35%

of babies in Canada were exclusively breastfed for at least 6 months

88%

of breastfed babies in Canada received vitamin D supplements

Technical note about confidence intervals

The data tables below each graphic include confidence intervals (CIs), which are statistical measures of how precise the estimates are.

The confidence interval provides a range of values that the true estimate would be expected to fall between, a certain percentage of the time, if the data was re-sampled in the same way. The narrower the range of the confidence interval, the more precise the estimate. All of the displayed confidence intervals are 95% probability.

Breastfeeding newborns

Most newborns in Canada start out breastfeeding. The map shows the breastfeeding rates in each province and territory.

Figure 1. Breastfeeding initiation by province and territory

Figure 1: Data table with confidence intervals

Table 1. Breastfeeding initiation by province and territory

Province or territory Rate Confidence interval (CI)

The following charts and tables show the percentage of parents who breastfed their newborns by various factors known to influence breastfeeding rates.

Figure 2. Breastfeeding initiation by demographic factor

Highest level of education

Indigenous status

Immigration status

Marital status

Age

Pre-pregnancy BMI

Figure 2: Data table with confidence intervals

Table 2. Breastfeeding initiation by demographic factor

Reasons for not breastfeeding

The following chart shows the reasons given by parents who decided not to breastfeed their newborns.

Figure 3. Reasons given for not breastfeeding

Figure 3: Data table with confidence intervals
Table 3. Reasons given for not breastfeeding

Stopping breastfeeding

Among parents who started out breastfeeding their newborns:

The sharpest monthly decline in breastfeeding occurs during the first month of life.

Figure 4. Breastfeeding rate by month (baby’s age)

Figure 4: Data table with confidence intervals

Table 4. Breastfeeding rate by month (baby’s age)


Figure 5. Reasons given for stopping breastfeeding before 6 months

For those who stopped breastfeeding before 6 months, reasons for stopping included:

Figure 5: Data table with confidence intervals

Table 5. Reasons given for stopping breastfeeding before 6 months

Breastfeeding exclusively

Breastfeeding exclusively means that breast milk is the only food the baby eats. While most babies were breastfed for at least 6 months, far fewer were breastfed exclusively.

The following chart shows the percentage of babies in each province and territory that were breastfed for at least 6 months. It also shows the percentage who were breastfed exclusively during those 6 months.

Figure 6. Percentage of babies breastfed for at least 6 months by province and territory

Figure 6: Data table with confidence intervals

Table 6. Percentage of babies breastfed for at least 6 months by province and territory


The charts below show breastfeeding rates by factors known to influence breastfeeding rates.

Figure 7. Percentage of babies breastfed for at least 6 months by demographic factor

Highest level of education

Rural or urban

Marital status

Pre-pregnancy BMI

Age

Immigration status

Figure 7: Data table with confidence intervals

Table 7. Percentage of babies breastfed for at least 6 months by demographic factor

Vitamin D supplements

It’s recommended that all breastfed babies receive extra vitamin D, and most breastfed babies in Canada do receive it.

Figure 8. Percentage of breastfed infants given vitamin D supplements, by province and territory

Figure 8: Data table with confidence intervals

Table 8. Percentage of breastfed infants given vitamin D supplements, by province and territory

Province or territory Rate Confidence interval (CI)

Figure 9. Percentage of breastfed infants given vitamin D supplements, by breastfeeding parent's age and education

Age

Highest level of education

Figure 9: Data table with confidence intervals

Table 9. Percentage of breastfed infants given vitamin D supplements, by breastfeeding parent's age and education

Related resources

Footnotes

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