An extra £2m will be invested to help more women in England breastfeed, Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo announced today.
The extra funding, announced during World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August), will help improve the UK's breastfeeding rate that is among the lowest in Europe, and in particular help mums in deprived areas.
The extra funding will help support hospitals in disadvantaged areas to achieve Unicef Baby-Friendly Status, a set of best practice standards for maternity units and community services on improving practice to promote, protect and support breastfeeding.
The Unicef initiative has a proven track record in raising breastfeeding rates in many countries. It will not only support mothers to start breastfeeding, but will help them to continue for longer through a range other grassroots initiatives, such as peer support groups to help mothers overcome breastfeeding difficulties. The government will monitor progress through measuring the prevalence of breastfeeding at 6 to 8 weeks in all primary care trusts as a key indicator of Child Health & Wellbeing PSA target.
Dawn Primarolo said: "By international standards not enough women breastfeed in England. This money will help more mums – particularly those in more deprived areas – to breastfeed and to do so for longer.
"We want to ensure women know the importance of breastfeeding and the benefits to themselves and their baby."