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Table 1 Breastfeeding rates and formal support for new parents comparing Finland and the UK1

From: Parenting stress in the early years – a survey of the impact of breastfeeding and social support for women in Finland and the UK







81% (2010)

Any BF

94% (4 weeks)

55% England, (6 weeks)

68% Scotland

37% Wales

35% N Ireland

Any BF at 6 mths


34% England

43% Scotland

27% Wales

13% N Ireland

Formal health care

Unicef Baby friendly Hospitals

25% hospitals BFHI certificate

85% hospitals BF outpatient clinic

80% hospitals breastmilk-bank

England; 53% of births in BFHI

Scotland; 100%

Wales: 86%

N Ireland 93%

Postnatal health care (hospital and community)


100% Midwives WHO BF course

40% Exclusive BF in hospital

97% Partial BF in hospital


97% PH nurses WHO BF course

BF outpatient clinics in community

UK – Services with full Baby Friendly Accreditation

60% of maternity services

73% of Health Visiting (Community) services

Formal parenting support

Maternity/paternity leave

Maternity leave 105 working days

Paternity leave 54 working days

52 weeks maternity leave

Pay for 39 weeks

1–2 weeks Paternity leave

Parental leave

158 working days

18 weeks ( 90 working days)

Daycare provision

Subjective right for public day-care

Variable – linked to receiving Government benefits

Maternity package

Baby-Box or cash benefit of €170

England – pilot schemes in some areas

Scotland – baby box free for Every baby

Wales – pilot schemes in some areas

  1. Abbreviations: WHO World Health Organisation, BF Breastfeeding, BFHI Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, PH Nurse Public Health Nurse
  2. 1 Estimated data, accurate comparisons are difficult due to different data collection processes, time-frames and metrics