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N Z Med J. 1995 Feb 22;108(994):59-61.

Infant feeding patterns in Canterbury.

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Community Paediatrician Unit, Healthlink South, Christchurch.



To examine infant feeding patterns during the first 6 months of life in Canterbury.


A random sample of 10% of all births over a 12 month period in Canterbury was taken from birth notifications (n = 520). Information on the type of feeding was recorded prospectively at three time periods and extracted from available Plunket nursing notes. The participation rate was 81%. Data from nonparticipants on the method of feeding at discharge was obtained from obstetric records.


Overall, 90.7% were breastfed at discharge. There was no difference between breastfeeding rates of the participants (91%) compared to the nonparticipants. For participants, 88% were exclusively breastfed at discharge which steadily declined to 36% at 24 weeks. However, some breastmilk was still being given to 70% at 24 weeks.


Breastfeeding rates are good in comparison to other nations. However, there is room for improvement particularly maintaining exclusive breastfeeding to at least four months. This could be stimulated by the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and the fostering of a baby friendly environment to further support and promote breastfeeding in the community.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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