Variations In Breastfeeding Rates A Concern Say Midwives

March 2017

General Practitioners

Country of origin: UK

NHS England has published statistics on breastfeeding rates.

Commenting on the figures, Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Whilst these figures appear to show some welcome improvement we must all strive to make even more progress. The large variations in breastfeeding rates are a concern and I would want to see more work done to find out why this is happening. There are very good examples of innovative and successful breastfeeding projects in maternity services across the country. We would encourage services to look at and share their experiences to see if similar initiatives can work elsewhere.

“An RCM report on breastfeeding published in May showed that mothers need more support with breastfeeding. There has to be enough midwives and other maternity staff such as maternity support workers to ensure that they get the right level of advice and support, before they leave hospital and once they are home.

“The health benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby can be very significant and have an impact on the health of the child into its adult life. It can make an enormous contribution to public health and midwives are midwives are the key health professionals to deliver this.

"We are also still seeing too many stories about women being prevented from breastfeeding in public places. This is a disincentive and may mean many women do not breastfeed. We call upon the Westminster government to follow the example of devolved nations and enact legislation making it illegal to prevent women feeding their babies in public spaces."

The RCM report 'Infant feeding' can be viewed at www.rcm.org.uk/content/pressure-points.

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