The NCT has recommended shifting the main focus of infant-feeding support to the period after birth.
In a study published on 2 July in Maternal and Child Nutrition, the NCT’s impact review suggests that many mothers are missing out on the support they need.
The charity is calling for empathic listening, skilled guidance and encouragement over a period of months, rather than just for a few days after birth.
While many UK mothers have positive breastfeeding experiences, a high proportion do not get the help they need to overcome problems in the early days and weeks, according to NCT.
It recommends that the early weeks after birth are clearly identified as an ‘investment and adjustment’ period.
Mary Newburn, head of research and information at NCT said: 'The birth of a baby involves a major life transition. New parents need to be reassured that an investment of time is needed to establish feeding.
'Getting more rest, reassurance and encouragement is often what is most needed.'
In line with the study findings, the NCT is making renewed efforts to support mothers when they are breastfeeding and when they are using formula milk, whether exclusively or in combination with breastfeeding. The charity believes support services should be parent-centred, evidence-informed and free from commercial influence.
To access the NCT’s article, please click here.