In Estonia, 64% of three months and 23% of six months old infants were exclusively breastfed* in 2017. Both indicators have decreased year-by-year. Compared to 2016, the indicator of three months old infants who were exclusively breastfed decreased by 1.4% and for the indicator of six months old infants decreased by 3.5% and it is almost one fifth lower than five years ago.
Over the last five years, the percentage of infants who were exclusively or partially breastfed increased in Lääne, Võru, Põlva and Valga county, and decreasing in Jõgeva and Lääne-Viru counties.
Globally, rates of infants less than six months of age who were exclusively breastfed are 41%. The rates of breastfeeding are far lower than is needed to optimally protect the health of women and their children and the global target rate is 70% by the year of 2030. World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that exclusive breastfeeding be initiated within one hour of birth up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.
* Fully breastfed infants – infants who are fed exclusively with breast milk (incl pumped breast milk). Additionally, they may get vitamins and medicaments, but not tea, water, juice, infant formulas or anything else what would replace meal.