Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Breastfeeding; Health Benefits

I am shocked by the latest figures here on breastfeeding -  "The breastfeeding rate in Scotland has stayed at a “broadly similar level” over the last decade, according to official data.  In 2014-15, just over 48 % of babies in Scotland were being breastfed at the time of the first child health review visit in Scotland, which takes place when they are around ten days old. That fell to 38% by the time of the six-eight week review statistics show." 

Compare these figures to Scandinavia, where 96% of babies are breastfed! The main reason not to breast feed is a seriously ill mother. Only a small number of woman are unable to breastfeed. 

Breastfeeding is natural, easy, free and by miles the healthiest option for both mother and baby.  So why on earth are new mothers turning to the extra work of expensive cows milk formula? 

The problem is both formula advertising and that breastfeeding is damn hard work to start off with. But after a few weeks breastfeeding is wonderful and offers a unique closeness with your baby. 
It is also a nonsense that babies don't get enough food breastfeeding! My son tripled his weight in 6 months!  Don't add in extra bottles though - the rubber teat on a bottle is easier for baby and will put them off breastfeeding.

TIPS - Read a book on breastfeeding ; make sure nipple is in a correct position, or sucking can hurt; showers help with full breasts the first few weeks and Vaseline; and try to breastfeed exclusively until adding solids.  Don't expect breastfeeding to be easy and it does take time the first couple of weeks. It is also wonderful too and healthy for your breasts.   

The NHS should pay more attention to preventive medicine and advertise the benefits of breastfeeding.  The statistics are shocking for the UKs health. Breastfed children as less likely to be obese and have stronger immune systems. 

In countries like Scandinavian around 98% are breastfed, in Canada 89%, in Australia 92%. This webpage shows charts of how poor UK figures are for breastfeeding compared to these other countries. I have to think these countries offer belter maternity leave.  

IMV if the Scottish government want to really deal with poverty and inequality the first route is through health and then education.

My daughter works in Pediatrics - and she says the problem is that new mothers are sent home from hospital almost immediately (unless they ask to stay longer) and are offered NO advice at all often on looking after their baby. It is no wonder there are problems at the first 6 week check up for baby! Some mothers are only feeding their babies every 6 hours! Many babies need fed every 3 hours depending on their weight! Oh dear. Surely some small amount of advice would go a very long way to give new mothers important advice on looking after their babies.

There is support and advice for new mothers.