Breastfeeding practices

The results of the Elfe study confirm a well documented trend over recent years towards more mothers starting to breastfeed at the maternity unit, in parallel with numerous public health initiatives designed to promote breastfeeding.

The Elfe study has revealed that 70% of mothers breastfeed while they are at the maternity unit – a figure that has risen substantially since the 1970s (59% of mothers exclusively breastfeed and 11% supplement with bottlefeeding).

The mothers who breastfeed most frequently are older, of normal build, or belong to a higher socio-occupational category. Mothers born abroad also breastfeed more often, as do mothers who attended antenatal classes or who did not smoke during pregnancy.

Moreover, breastfeeding is more frequent when fathers are involved, having been present at the birth, and when the parents are married.

Lastly, breastfeeding at the maternity unit varies across regions, being more frequent in eastern France and the Ile-de-France region, and less frequent in western and northern France. 

More information

More information

Kersuzan C., Gojard S., Tichit C., Thierry X., Wagner S., Nicklaus S., Geay B., Charles M.-A., Lioret S., Lauzon-Guillain B. (de). “Prévalence de l’allaitement à la maternité selon les caractéristiques des parents et les conditions de l’accouchement. Résultats de l’enquête Elfe maternité, France métropolitaine, 2011”, BEH no. 27, p. 440-449, October 2014. [Link]