The Infant Feeding Survey shows in 2005 76% of UK mums started out breastfeeding – up 7% from 2000. But after six weeks the number of mums still breastfeeding drops by half. At six months only a quarter were still breastfeeding at all and about 1% feeding exclusively with breast milk.
Mothers are advised to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months to provide their child with maximum health benefits.
Professor Denise Lievesley, of the Information Centre, which produced the study, said the overall message was positive as more women were breastfeeding for longer.
The figures were released on the first day of National Breastfeeding Week, which will see the launch of a breastfeeding manifesto in Westminster on Wednesday.