Following World Breastfeeding Week (1–7 August) health bosses at NHS East Lancashire and NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) encourage more mums to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding has many benefits for both mum and baby and in the UK more than 73% of mothers start breastfeeding. In Lancashire around 70% of babies have their first feed of breast milk however, by 6 weeks this drops to as low as 40%. There are a variety of reasons why this may happen and health professionals know it is essential that mothers get the right support at the right time from professionals and the community around them.
Breast milk is perfectly designed for your baby and has benefits for both the mother and baby:
- Breastfeeding for the first six months is crucial to achieve optimal growth, development and health for the baby
- It protects infants from childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea and pneumonia
- Reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes for the mother
A local young mum from Lancashire who has breastfed her two young children talks about her experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VRG4nAv82g
Kirsty Hamer, Commissioning Lead – Children, Family and Maternity Services at the CCGs said:
“There are a few misconceptions when it comes to breastfeeding. It should not be painful or uncomfortable and it is impossible to over feed a breastfed baby. You’ll be visited frequently by your midwife and health visitor in the early weeks to make sure your baby is growing well. The health visitor can also give advice on your feeding technique and help support you and your baby through your breastfeeding journey.”
For local support and information visit https://www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/feeding-your-baby and contact FAB breastfeeding support on 01254772929.
The National Breastfeeding Helpline (0300 100 0212) is available all year round from 9:30am to 9:30pm. Alternatively, sign into Facebook and message the Start4Life Breastfeeding Friend ‘chatbot’ for fast, friendly, trusted NHS advice anytime, day or night.
However you choose to feed your baby, new parents often have lots of questions. It’s quite common to feel overwhelmed but if you think you might be depressed it’s really important to talk to anyone – your partner, friends, health visitor or GP.
To find out more about the health benefits of breastfeeding, visit the NHS Choices website.