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‘Better breastfeeding support needed’

7 July, 2017

‘Better breastfeeding support needed’

Peer support for breastfeeding mothers is not available in many areas of the UK, new research shows.

It was only available in 56% of NHS trust and health board areas, says the paper published today (7 July). 

The researchers from Cardiff University also found variation in what was provided within and between areas. 

This variation in content and service delivery was often related to financial constraints within organisations.
 
Sarah Fox, RCM professional policy advisor, said: ‘The UK still lags often significantly behind many other European countries on breastfeeding rates. This is not good enough.
 
‘The government should be doing everything it can to encourage and support women to want to initiate breastfeeding, and continue successful breastfeeding for at least 6 months or longer if they wish to. 

‘This should include support for women and their babies in the post natal period, and this support needs to include continuity of midwifery care as well as peer support.  

‘This survey suggests that this is still not the case, and this should be addressed urgently as there is a clear need to invest in postnatal services.’
 
She added that investing in services will mean healthier babies, who will become healthier children and adults, which will save the NHS money. ‘It is a false economy to not do this,’ Sarah concluded.

The researchers also found though many services aimed to meet the needs of mothers from poorer social backgrounds, they did not attract them as service users.  

And breastfeeding support groups and peer support services were not routinely keeping records of service use.

The research is published in the journal Maternal and Child Nutrition and can be accessed by clicking here.

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