Breastfeeding on the increase

Good news out today that the number of mums in the UK who start breastfeeding has risen to 81%.

However there are still differences between socio-economic groups with those with least education being much less likely to start. I guess this is pretty predictable. Professional, educated women are more likely to have decent maternity leave packages. They’re more likely to attend NCT classes. They are also more likely to have friends and mothers who breastfed.

There isn’t any data on the numbers of women who start breastfeeding but, for whatever reason, stop before they might ideally have wished to.

The Government is making some cuts to breastfeeding promotion, like Breastfeeding Awareness week. Maybe there are better ways to spend this money, I don’t know. However they say that health visitors will continue to play a key role in supporting breastfeeding in new mums. I seriously hope so but in my experience their interest in and ability to support breastfeeding is pretty mixed. Speaking to friends who struggled initially to feed many of them found most help via the dedicated breastfeeding groups and networks that exist. Many of these are voluntary local groups run on a shoestring. I think they are really important and these are all now potentially at risk with the squeeze on charitable giving and local grant funding.

I just hope that this positive trend in increased breastfeeding can continue. However most importantly more needs to be done to look at why women then stop breastfeeding and whether anything could have been done to help those who’d rather continue to do so.

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