Article Title

Factors Affecting Initiation and Duration of Breastfeeding Among Off-Reserve Indigenous Children in Canada


Indigenous children in Canada are less likely to be breastfed compared to non-Indigenous children; however, little information about rates and correlates of breastfeeding exist. We used a nationally representative survey to examine breastfeeding initiation (n = 9,330) and duration (n = 6,760) among First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children. In our sample, 72.5% of children had been breastfed, and 57.9% of these individuals were breastfed until six months. Factors associated with increased breastfeeding included mothers’ educational attainment, children’s weight at birth, mothers' residential school attendance, and region of residence. Having Indian Status and lower household income were associated with lower breastfeeding initiation and duration. Our findings suggest that targeted efforts to encourage and support breastfeeding among Indigenous women are needed. Additional research using contemporary data are required in Canada.


The authors would like to sincerely acknowledge and thank Christopher J. Ryan, MSc, who provided consultation and support during the early stages of data analysis.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


This research uses anonymous secondary data that are publicly available and was therefore not reviewed by a research ethics board (REB). The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. This research was supported in part by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Operating Grant.

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