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World Breastfeeding Week runs this year from August 1st – 7th; an annual event organised by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) with the aim of highlighting the benefits of breastfeeding for the health and welfare of babies around the world.
The ‘breast is best’ debate has raged for many years and will probably continue to do so but many new mums – including here in the UK – are simply not offered the right support to be able to start or continue breastfeeding, giving rise to the modified ‘fed is best’ motto.
How many people breastfeed in the UK?
According to The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, less than a quarter (17%) of babies are still being exclusively breastfed for 3 months. In fact, the UK has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world, with eight out of ten women stopping breastfeeding before they want to. Breastfeeding is not only good for babies, it can also help mums, by lowering their risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease – even obesity. It’s also thought that increasing the number of babies who are breastfed could cut common childhood illnesses including ear, chest and gastrointestinal infections, saving the NHS up to £50 million each year.
Breastfeeding can be a wonderfully bonding experience and there’s no doubt that breast milk has a myriad of benefits to baby. It’s a skill and requires patience (not always easy with a hungry newborn) but once mastered (often with support) it can free up precious time – no need for sterilising bottles or mixing formula – it’s a nutritious ready meal ‘on the go’!
Breastfeeding top tips for getting started:
- Take your time: find somewhere quiet, turn off your phone, have a glass of water and a muslin to hand, try to relax and stay calm.
- Get comfy: whether feeding in bed or on the sofa,grab a feeding support pillow, enabling you to easily find the correct positioning for helping baby to latch on.
- Switch sides: it’s important to feed from both sides equally to stimulate milk production, so remember to alternate the breast you offer the baby first.
- Stay nourished: breastfeeding burns calories and can make you hungry and thirsty, so while the baby enjoys your nutritious breast milk, it’s just as important that mum eats a healthy diet too.
- Ask for help: breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful or stressful for either mum or baby – so if you’re experiencing difficulties, it’s important to ask for help from a medical expert.
At Didofy, we support and celebrate all parents. We admire breastfeeding, bottlefeeding and combination feeding mums – all mums do an amazing job! Whatever way you choose to feed, you are all doing an amazing job. We salute you!