‘Breastfeeding must be a public priority,’ says RCM
A new report by UNICEF highlights global 'breastfeeding gaps' between rich and poor and shows the UK breastfeeding rate is among the lowest in the world.
The analysis notes that one in five babies in high-income countries is not breastfed at all, compared to just one in 25 in low- and-middle-income countries.
The report also focuses on UK breastfeeding rates, which are among the lowest in the world – 150,000 babies in the UK never receive breastmilk in their life.
Among high-income countries, there are wide variations in the proportions of babies who are ever breastfed.
In some countries, such as Oman, Sweden and Uruguay, at least 98% of babies are breastfed.
However, in the UK the rate is 81%. Among the lowest rates in the report are the US, which is 74%, France at 63%, and Ireland with 55%.
RCM professional policy advisor Clare Livingstone said: ‘There is no doubt that the UK along with many other countries needs to improve its breastfeeding rates.
‘Typically the number of women who start breastfeeding in the UK is at around 80%, but unfortunately after a couple of weeks this number falls dramatically.
‘Low breastfeeding rates in parts of the UK unfortunately indicate a much bigger social and cultural problem that needs to be tackled.’
She added that investment in specialist midwives and high-quality postnatal support to help women to initiate and sustain breastfeeding ‘must be public health priority’.
Access more information and and the full report here.