Breastfeeding in Scotland

Home > Breastfeeding in the UK > Breastfeeding in Scotland

Improving Maternal and Infant Nutrition: A Framework for Action was published to improve the nutrition of pregnant women, babies and young children. It supports and promotes the benefits of breastfeeding and the importance of a healthy diet throughout early childhood.

Statistics published in October 2011 indicate that breastfeeding rates in the most deprived areas of Scotland have increased over the last decade, with the overall breastfeeding rates at the first visit increasing from 24.3 per cent in 2001/02 to 30.9 per cent in 2010/11, and the rates at six to eight weeks also improving from 18.1 per cent to 22.3 per cent.

As part of Improving Maternal and Infant Nutrition: A Framework for Action, NHS boards are required to detail how they are implementing the framework, including specific areas of work around antenatal education, postnatal breastfeeding support and accredited breastfeeding peer support.

The framework requires that all maternity units and 80 per cent of community health partnerships in Scotland should achieve Baby Friendly accreditation by 2015/16. In order to support this, the Scottish Government has funded a Professional Officer and has provided financial support to assist boards with the accreditation process.

Improving Maternal and Infant Nutrition: A Framework for Action. Scottish Government (2011)

Understanding the data

Breastfeeding rates in Scotland are monitored and published annually by NHS National Services Scotland.  The latest breastfeeding statistics annual publication is available online.

Information is collected at routine child health reviews at around 10 days and 6-8 weeks of age. Statistics are presented by NHS Board of Review, Council Area and Community Health Partnership, and also by maternal age, deprivation and smoking status.