Ireland’s rising breast feeding rate may be the result of an increased number of foreign-born mothers living here, rather than policy and research efforts, a report suggested.
It found that a mother’s citizenship and birthplace were among the strongest influencing factors.
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin, UCC, and the ESRI used the Growing Up in Ireland national study to consider the influence of ethnicity on breast feeding rates.
The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, looked at 11,092 biological mother and infant pairs.
While 56% of mothers initiated breast feeding, only 8% were still breast feeding their child at nine months. Breast feeding rates in many other European countries range between 70% and 99%.
Just half of Irish citizens started breast feeding compared to 89% of non-Irish citizens. Irish-born mothers (49%) were also less likely to have started breast feeding than mothers born elsewhere (82%).
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