In England the last Infant Feeding Survey took place in 2010. Since then there have been no up-to-date records of how parents feed their babies.
Now the Department of Health and Social Care have decided to reinstate the Infant Feeding Survey for 2023. This will help shine a light on current rates of breastfeeding, formula feeding and mixed feeding. The findings will help ensure public services provide the right support for new parents in respect to feeding their babies.
Background on the Infant Feeding Survey
In England, the infant feeding survey was conducted every five years from 1975 to 2010, and then it stopped. This was a huge blow for many people and infant feeding specialists have been campaigning for the return of the survey for many years now.
The 2023 survey will be the 9th national survey of infant feeding practices.
What the Infant Feeding Survey will cover
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has commissioned Ipsos to carry out a new infant feeding survey for England.
The survey includes questions about:
- how mothers feed their babies
- where they get information and advice on feeding their babies
- some aspects of pregnancy and lifestyle
Mothers will initially be contacted when their baby is around 9 to 12 weeks old. Those who complete the first questionnaire and agree to further contact will be sent further questionnaires when their baby is around 4 to 6 months old and around 8 to 10 months old.
The infant feeding survey will ask mothers with new babies:— Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (@OHID) October 9, 2023
➡️ how they feed their babies
➡️ where they get advice on feeding
➡️ questions on their pregnancy and lifestyle
You will get a letter if you are invited to take part.
Find out more or opt out: https://t.co/jqNKArgb5U pic.twitter.com/i25ztPsZP3
Who can take part in the survey
DHSC and Ipsos will contact a selection of mothers in England who have given birth in late 2023 to invite them to take part in the infant feeding survey.
Mothers can only take part in the survey if they receive an invitation letter. Taking part in the survey is voluntary.
Infant feeding matters
On hearing the news that the Infant Feeding Survey is returning for 2023, many people are delighted – but also frustrated that it’s taken this long to have it reinstated.
Lactation Consultant Emma Pickett from London is relieved to see the return of the Infant Feeding Survey. In an Instagram post she wrote: “Finally, someone has realised infant feeding matters…Can you believe it’s taken THIS long for a developed country to realise dropping this survey was a bad idea?”.
Breastfeeding mother of two Grace Redmond is welcoming the new survey. Eager to see what the findings will bring, in the boobingit Facebook group she wrote: “We know the UK has the lowest breastfeeding rates in the more so it will be interesting to have some more up to date figures.”