shows major increase in number of mums breastfeeding here
Results from the
latest UK Infant Feeding Survey released today reveal that
breastfeeding rates for Northern Ireland mums have increased
by almost 10%, and although we have a lower breastfeeding
rate than England, Scotland and Wales, the increase in breastfeeding
between 2000 and 2005 was greater in Northern Ireland than
anywhere else in the UK.
Regional Breastfeeding Coordinator with the Health Promotion
Agency for Northern Ireland (HPA), said: “I am really
delighted with the results which show a positive upward trend
for Northern Ireland and it is fitting that National Breastfeeding
Awareness Week can end on a high note with our breastfeeding
rates increasing from 54% in 2000 to 63% in 2005.
development and implementation of the Northern Ireland Breastfeeding
Strategy there have been significant improvements to breastfeeding
support in many hospital and community trusts. These include
the implementation of the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative,
Sure Start programmes’ involvement in breastfeeding,
training in breastfeeding management along with the establishment
of breastfeeding support groups and peer support programmes.
Mass media campaigns have also been implemented to promote
breastfeeding and encourage the public to support breastfeeding
mums. All this hard work is reflected in the figures released
that mums who breastfeed are helping to reduce their risk
of developing breast and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis and
Type 2 diabetes, while for babies breastfeeding brings health
benefits including a reduction in certain illnesses, such
as chest, urinary and ear infections and they are less likely
to develop juvenile obesity and diabetes in childhood.
“While these results are encouraging there is still
a lot of work to be done. We really need to support mums in
their effort to continue to breastfeed for longer. The World
Health Organization (WHO) recommends women breastfeed exclusively
until six months with continued breastfeeding up to two years
of age.¹ At present only 10% of mums here are still feeding
their babies at six months in comparison to Scandinavian countries
where the breastfeeding rate is closer to 80% at this stage.”
results will give all those involved in breastfeeding a real
boost and will do much to encourage us to strive for continued
success in ensuring breastfeeding rates continue to rise.”
to the Editor:
¹ WHO. Infant and young child nutrition. Global strategy
on infant and young child feeding. In: Fifty Fifth World Health
Feeding Survey 2005 commissioned for Northern Ireland by the
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.
about breastfeeding can be found at www.breastfedbabies.org
further information contact:
Contact Jenny Dougan or Rosie McGaughey on 028 9031 1611.