World Breastfeeding Week takes place between 1-7 August and aims to increase the rate of breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.
Currently a national average of 73% mothers breastfeed at the time the baby is born. Locally the figures are:
- Cannock Chase CCG 63%
- Stafford and Surrounds CCG 70%
- SE Staffordshire & Seisdon Peninsula CCG 62%
The Staffordshire NHS health commissioners are keen that this number increases, so that everyone who is able to breastfeed does so.
The CCGs are sharing with local residents the benefits of breastfeeding and why it is so important for mothers. It is recommended for mothers to exclusively breastfeed (giving your baby breast milk only) for the first six months of their baby’s life. After this, giving your baby food alongside breast milk will help them to grow.
Breastfeeding results in benefits for both the baby and the mother. Breast milk protects babies from infections, whilst also lowering the risk of ovarian cancer in mothers. Additionally, breastfeeding can help to build a strong emotional bond between the mother and her baby.
Breastfeeding has wide-ranging and long-lasting benefits; it can reduce the risk of:
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Childhood leukaemia
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease in adulthood
Dr John James, Chair of SES&SP CCG and Clinical Lead for the Pan Staffordshire Maternity Transformation Programme, said: “There are a few misconceptions when it comes to breastfeeding. For example, unlike breast milk, formula milk does not protect your baby to the same extent from diseases and infections.
“If you are a mother, breast milk is perfectly suited for your baby, and it has long-term benefits for your baby, which last until adulthood. If you have any questions or need help, I would recommend contacting your GP or local midwifery team for further information.”
Lots of people have difficulty breastfeeding, for a number of reasons and some mothers don’t hold their babies in the best position for baby to latch on. To speak to someone about any problems you might be having, or for advice and support, you can contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212. This service is available all year round from 9:30am to 9:30pm.
To find out more about the health benefits of breastfeeding, visit the NHS Choices website