Patchy support for breastfeeding

20 December 2016

A report on breastfeeding in the UK has found access to support is inconsistent and under threat.

Breast feeding / iStock: 628481806

The first World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative UK report on policies and programmes in infant feeding found examples of good support scattered across the UK. But, in England particularly, leadership was missing, support services have declined in recent years, and more are under threat.

While Scotland and Northern Ireland scored 10 out of 10 for their leadership and national strategies, the UK still has among the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. Around 80% of mothers begin to breastfeed, but rates plummet within weeks due to lack of support and an unhelpful culture.

The report calls for ‘national leadership’ and recommends protection for breastfeeding mothers at work, a high standard of training for staff , and joined-up support in the community.

Gavin Fergie, lead professional offi cer at Unite-CPHVA, said: ‘This is another report highlighting why we are at the bottom of the table. This essential element of public health needs real investment to make the recommendations a reality.’

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