RCM calls for improvements in staffing to enable better breastfeeding support

on 01 July 2022 RCM Maternity Services Midwifery Workforce Midwife Shortage Breastfeeding Infant Feeding

We must see improvements in breastfeeding support for disadvantaged women says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). This comes as new research out today (1 July) from UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies shows that improving breastfeeding support for disadvantaged mothers may benefit their children's cognitive development.

Commenting on the research, Clare Livingstone, Professional Policy Advisor at the RCM, and its lead on infant feeding, said: “There is substantial and growing evidence around the health benefits of breastfeeding to the health of the mother and baby, and on the baby’s cognitive development. It is vital therefore that maternity services are always adequately staffed so that midwives and maternity support workers can provide high quality support to every mother on infant feeding. The current and worsening midwife shortage in England and growing staffing issues in other UK countries are certainly making this difficult to achieve.

“Not everyone can or chooses to breastfeed and other influences, including socioeconomic and education factors also play a part. It is a complex picture, but undoubtedly, mothers’ access to breastfeeding support is crucial.”

The research will be published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.


To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected]. 

Notes to Editors

See the RCM’s Infant Feeding Position Statement at rcm-position-statement-infant-feeding.pdf.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team.  We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team