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More support for breast feeding

15th February 2008

Government advisers say new mothers are in need of extra support to help keep up rates of breastfeeding.

breastfeeding1

Figures show that 76% of new mums start breastfeeding their babies but after six weeks this falls to 50% and a quarter by six months.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition says that to keep more women breastfeeding for longer there needs to be raised awareness on the health risks of not breastfeeding.

Research has show that breastfed babies are less likely to become obese and that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of women having health problems later in life.

The recommendations from the committee follow the Infant Feeding Survey from 2005, a study carried out every five years since 1975. The 2005 research showed that well-educated, professional women aged over 30 who were first-time mothers were the most likely group to breastfeed.

The committee’s report warned that antenatal and postnatal services needed to be more accessible; breastfeeding advice and support should be widely available; health care providers should receive proper training on helping women who want to breastfeed; and there be greater provision of adequate infant feeding facilities at work and in public places.

Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative programme director Sue Ashmore said: “There is a great deal of evidence to show that mothers who receive support from someone who believes they can successfully breastfeed continue to breastfeed for longer.?

The Department of Health has promised £150,000 a year for a national breastfeeding helpline, which the Royal College of Midwives said was welcome and overdue.

 

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