Health minister Dawn Primarolo has claimed "breast is best" as she launched a breastfeeding helpline to support new mothers.
She also revealed a £150,000-a-year package to help the advice line give women practical support and information so they do not need to bottle feed.
Research shows babies who are breastfed are less likely to be obese in later life, and gain protection against asthma, eczema and chest infections.
But other studies have found only half of women in England still breastfeed after six weeks.
The government cash will see the Breastfeeding Network and the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers merge. Together they receive around 28,000 calls each year.
Ms Primarolo said: "When it comes to feeding babies, breast is best.
"Our challenge is to help new mums who choose to breastfeed through those early difficult weeks and months.
"That's why we have launched this new helpline to give new mums support so they can breastfeed for longer.
"Our aim is to increase the number of mums breastfeeding for longer and we will monitor progress at six to eight weeks.
"Local health authorities will gather this information and report back every quarter."
The new helpline number is 0844 20 909 20.
Department of Health
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