12 May 2003
To raise public awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding, promote
breastfeeding as socially acceptable and encourage wider uptake among
mothers in Northern Ireland.
Breastfeeding is widely acknowledged to be the best and most healthy
way to feed a baby. Despite recent increases, Northern Ireland still
has the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the UK. Research commissioned
by the Health Promotion Agency for Northern Ireland indicates that
a lack of social acceptability for breastfeeding is one of the main
reasons that mums here resort to bottle feeding. While over half
of mums here do start off breastfeeding, very few continue past the
first few weeks. When mums encounter difficulties, quite often they
choose to stop breastfeeding because of a lack of support and the
sense that breastfeeding is still not considered to be acceptable.
The campaign included a new leaflet, which provides information on the
significant health benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby, advice
on how to get started with breastfeeding and how the midwife or health
visitor can help. Details of local contacts for help and advice are also
included. The leaflet can be used by health professionals during antenatal
visits to initiate a discussion with the mother about infant feeding.
Posters have also been produced featuring local mothers discreetly breastfeeding
their babies, with messages highlighting the health benefits of breastfeeding
for both mothers and babies.
leaflet and posters were tested locally with focus
groups of women who were pregnant for the first
time and mothers who had previously bottle fed
their babies. This helped to ensure that the messages
were clear and easy to understand, and that the
images used were appropriate and would appeal to
people here. Click on the links below to view the
The main messages that were communicated through the campaign were:
• breastfeeding is the best way to feed a baby;
• for babies, breastfeeding reduces the risk of coughs and colds, stomach
upsets, ear infections, childhood diabetes, asthma and eczema;
• for mums, breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer,
Link to the press release on this campaign: 2003.