Just 56pc of babies breastfed
OLDER mothers and immigrant women from Eastern Europe have boosted Irish breastfeeding rates -- but they are still way behind other countries, a new study reveals today.
Although new mothers are constantly told that "breast is best", just under 56pc of women who give birth here breastfeed their babies.
It means the babies who are exclusively fed with infant formula are more likely to get respiratory, ear and gastrointestinal infections, costing the health service €12m a year, according to the ESRI findings.
The study, launched to coincide with the beginning of National Breastfeeding Week, found that while breastfeeding rates have risen from 48.9pc in 2005 to 55.7pc in 2010, they compare poorly with 81pc in the UK and 90pc in Scandinavia.
The study also found that women aged between 35 and 39 years are 50pc more likely to breastfeed than new mothers of between 25 and 29 years.