Breast is best!
The Department of Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old. But some mums will need advice and support when trying to achieve this.
Breast milk is a fantastic source of nutrition for babies. In fact, it is undoubtedly the best source available, giving babies everything they need for growth and development. Both the Department of Health and the World Health Organization recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a babyâ€™s life.
Yet the Infant Feeding Survey 2010, which was published in November 2012, revealed that while 81 per cent of new mothers in the UK start breastfeeding from the birth of their baby (up from 76 per cent in 2005), only 23 per cent of UK mothers are still breastfeeding exclusively by the time their baby is six weeks old. And only one per cent manage the full recommended six months. Whatâ€™s more, the Department of Healthâ€™s Diet and Nutrition Survey of Infants and Young Children 2011 found that 22 per cent of children had never been breastfed. Of those who were breastfed, 57 per cent were not breastfed beyond three months of age.
It is clear from these findings that pharmacy teams should be aware of the benefits of breastfeeding to help support and encourage mums who wish to breastfeed their babies. It is also important to know where to refer mums who may need further support and to be aware of the reasons why some mums donâ€™t breastfeed, as well as the other options that are available, including combination feeding and bottle feeding.
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