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Infant Feeding Survey 2010

What is the survey?

The Infant Feeding Survey (IFS) has been conducted every five years since 1975. The 2010 IFS was the eighth national survey of infant feeding practices to be conducted. We contacted a selection of mothers at 3 times over the first year of their child's life so we can find out about how babies are fed over time. We got in touch when babies were 6 weeks, 4 - 6 months and for a final time at 8 - 10 months.


Why did we do this survey?

The main aims of the survey include establishing how infants born in 2010 were being fed and to examine trends in infant feeding practices over recent years. The survey investigates variations in feeding practices among different socio-demographic groups and establishes the age at which solid foods are introduced and examines practices associated with introducing solid foods up to 9 months.

The survey provided accurate statistics that are used to inform policy and planning to improve awareness and services, and used by Academia and Researchers in their research papers and training and guidance materials.


Who did the survey?

The survey was carried out by IFF Research with Professor Mary Renfrew of the University of Dundee on behalf of the Health and Social Care Information Centre.


How did you choose who took part?

A selection of mothers who gave birth between August and October 2010 were randomly selected from the birth registers for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.


What did taking part in the survey involve?

The survey was split into three stages and mothers were asked to complete a questionnaire at each stage within the first year of their baby's life. At each stage a self-completion questionnaire was sent through the post to mothers who were also offered the option to complete the survey online.


What data items are collected?

Topics covered in the survey included: details of pregnancy and birth; how infants are fed, including incidence, prevalence and duration of breast-feeding, and types of milk/other drinks/food given; vitamins consumed by mother and baby; post-natal care and childcare advice received; mothers' intentions and practices regarding breast-feeding, including feeding in public places; smoking and drinking during pregnancy; mothers' intentions to return to or start work; demographic details of mother; awareness of and participation in Healthy Start schemes.


What happened to the answers?

The answers from the questionnaire were put together with the answers collected from thousands of other people across the UK.

The answers will be completely confidential and we will make sure that no-one can be identified from the results we publish.

The results collected are used for research purposes only and respondents never receive any junk mail as a result of speaking to us. We never pass on your details to other organisations for commercial purposes.


Latest findings and report

A full anonymised data set of this series of surveys is available in the UK Data Services Catalogue.

The 2010 Infant Feeding report and key findings are available in the HSCIC publication catalogue.

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