The nation’s full breast-feeding rate has risen dramatically over the past two decades, in part because of government support and intervention, but more still needs to be done, Department of Health (DOH) officials said yesterday.
The full breast-feeding rate rose from 5.4 percent in 1989 to 61.8 percent last year, according to the latest statistics released by the DOH.
“Today, more than 60 percent of mothers rely exclusively on breast-feeding, from the baby’s birth to one month of age,” Bureau of Health Promotion Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said.
The rate has risen more than 11-fold over the past two decades because of the government’s intervention and the establishment of public breast-feeding rooms, Chiou said.
However, Chiou also said that the breast-feeding rate declines significantly as the baby gets older, dropping to 50.9 percent at two months, 39.7 percent at four months and 24.2 percent at six months.
The high drop-off in the breast- feeding rate can be ascribed to several factors, such as the popularity of milk formulas, the increase in the number of working mothers and an unsupportive environment, according to a statement released by the bureau.
“There is still much room for improvement,” Chiou said.
The government intends to work harder to create breast-feeding-friendly workplace accreditation and it is also launching a breast-feeding location application for smartphone users, she added.
The app, due to be ready in October, would help mothers identify locations near them where they can breast-feed their child, Chiou said.