The Infant Feeding Surveys provide evidence that breastfeeding is on the rise in the UK.
Sue Miller believes that the breastfeeding country's rate is still inadequate and that 35 years of attempts to promote it have been thwarted by politicians and formula manufacturers. Miller cites a government spokesperson who declared in 2010 that “data in the Lancet shows that 0.5% of babies in the UK are still being breastfed up to one year”. Is this number accurate? The Lancet article in question is "Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect" by Cesar G Victora et al., published in 2016. In it, the authors have pooled different sources to make estimations for all nations of the world.
The UK used the 2010 NHS Infant Feeding Survey, which had a 35% response rate and only provided data up to six months, to generate an estimate of 12-month breastfeeding. It is unknown how they extrapolated 0.5% from the 34% rate in 2010. Consequently, the 0.5% Miller depends on is a statistical fabrication based on decade-old data, from a survey with a low response rate. The Infant Feeding Surveys data indicates that breastfeeding rates have increased in the UK since 2000; 24% of babies were breastfed at six months, increasing to 34% in 2010.
As a group of parents that favor a feeding approach that accommodates each family's needs, we wonder if 35 years of breastfeeding advocacy have improved the physical and mental health of babies and their parents. Unfortunately, we have no data to prove it, leaving us in doubt.