Brown, A. The Conversation. Published online: 5 August 2016
Britain has ended up in a situation where, despite the known health and economic benefits of breastfeeding, rates are abysmal. In fact they’re the lowest in the world. More importantly, 80% of mothers who stop breastfeeding in the first six weeks are not ready to do so, and stop because breastfeeding has become seemingly impossible for them.
Breastfeeding should not be so difficult for so many and should only be impossible for a very, very small minority of mothers. However, while society appears to promote breastfeeding, there are actually numerous barriers ranging from formula milk adverts to a lack of community support, that ultimately make breastfeeding feel impossible.
Rather than protecting breastfeeding, the government doesn’t invest properly in the services, support and expertise that would actually enable mothers to breastfeed – despite reports finding it could actually save the NHS money. Instead, cuts to services take away essential volunteer groups and funding of breastfeeding specialists. What should be an easily fixable issue gets turned into months of suffering.
Though no longer allowed to advertise to mothers of babies under six months, the multi-billion formula milk industry still dominates. Some might argue that the world doesn’t need a week celebrating breastfeeding but in reality, every week is world formula feeding week.
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