Public Health Wales Encourages Parents to Reconsider Breastfeeding

Public Health Wales has revealed that only around half of parents (51%) in Wales state hat they will definitely breastfeed their baby.

The survey was carried out earlier this year as part of Every Child Wales, Public Health Wales’ new programme to improve the health and wellbeing of children under five.

Beaufort Research undertook a survey on behalf of Public Health Wales consisting of a total of 1,503 telephone interviews with parents and carers of children aged 0 to 5 in Wales, between 11th April and 6th June.

Public Health Wales recommends for babies to be given nothing but breastmilk for the first six months of their lives.

However, the survey also revealed that although almost half (49%) of those who breastfeed do so for at least four months, with one in five (19%) doing so for less than a month.

Evidence shows that breastfed babies are more likely to grow up a healthy weight and carry less risk of high blood pressure and heart disease as they get older.

Karen Thompson, Consultant in Public Health for Obesity Prevention and Nutrition for Public Health Wales, suggested that this data is illustrative of public attitudes to breastfeeding.

“These results are important because those parents who were really positive about breastfeeding were much more likely to succeed compared to those who were uncertain. In many parts of Wales breastfeeding is very rare and bottle feeding is normal. Unless we can change this, many babies in Wales will not get the many benefits that breastmilk brings in both short term and longer term health outcomes.”

Thompson also explained why breast milk is particularly valuable to infants.

“Breast milk is all a baby needs in the first six months, providing them with all the vital nutrients to grow healthily. And it is not just good for baby’s weight, it’s good for mums too. You can naturally burn 500 calories a day through breastfeeding.”

The consultant concluded her comments by encouraging parents to educate themselves on the matter.

“We need to understand more about why some parents are unsure about breastfeeding and help to address those concerns in a positive way. If parents are uncertain we would encourage them to talk to their midwife or health visitor and they will be able to put them in touch with other mums who have breastfed successfully – above all we would say just give it a go, you may find it is easier than you think.”

Every Child Wales collates information and advice to support breastfeeding parents as part of its 10 steps to a healthy weight.

 

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