Walsall’s Infant Feeding Team is raising awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and the support available for new mums.
National Breastfeeding Week runs until this Friday 30 June and the team is using this opportunity to further highlight advantages to both babies and mums.
Liz Doble, Health visitor with Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Infant Feeding Team, pictured, said staff were working to help normalise and support continued breastfeeding.
She said: “The UK has some of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world and eight out of ten out mothers in the UK reported that they had stopped breastfeeding – despite wanting to continue – as they had had no support.
“We want to reassure Walsall mums that our friendly team is here for them to help and guide them and we have a Breastfeeding Peer Support Group which meets every Friday and is a wonderful way to connect with others on the same journey.”
The group meets at Pinfold Health Centre in Field Road, Bloxwich, every Friday between 11am and 12.30pm.
The team is keen to remind people of the benefits of breastfeeding:
- Infant health: Breastfeeding protects children from a vast range of illnesses, including infection, diabetes, asthma, heart disease and obesity, as well as cot death (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Maternal health: Breastfeeding also protects mothers from breast and ovarian cancers and heart disease
- Relationship-building: Breastfeeding supports the mother-baby relationship and the mental health of both mum and baby
- Worldwide benefits: The benefits are seen in both high and low income countries, with a study published in The Lancet in 2016 finding that increasing breastfeeding rates around the world to near universal levels could prevent 823,000 annual deaths in children younger than five years and 20,000 annual maternal deaths from breast cancer
- Cost savings: Breastfeeding contributes to significant savings to the NHS, with initial investments paying off within just a few years. A NICE costing report estimates that Baby Friendly accreditation will start to save a facility money after three years, owing to a reduction in the incidence of certain childhood illnesses. Baby Friendly’s report Preventing disease and saving resources found that moderate increases in breastfeeding would translate into cost savings for the NHS of many millions of pounds, and tens of thousands of fewer hospital admissions and GP consultations. In addition, Baby Friendly’s staged approach to assessment and accreditation allows facilities to spread costs and enables better financial planning.