Breastfeeding promoted as the best option for feeding babies
This year's National Breastfeeding Awareness Week will be backed by the largest publicity drive ever, with countrywide TV and radio advertising supporting the initiative for the first time.
The week – which takes place between 13-19 May – backs the efforts of health visitors, midwives and breastfeeding counsellors to promote breastfeeding as the best option for feeding babies. The advertising will raise the profile of breastfeeding. It will complement the many promotional initiatives run locally by health professionals throughout National Breastfeeding Awareness Week.
The "Breastfeeding – what could be more natural?" advertisements will be aimed at young women from lower socioeconomic groups who have been less likely to breastfeed.
The NHS breastfeeding website - www.breastfeeding.nhs.uk - is being relaunched as a support tool from mid-April. The user-friendly site will target pregnant women and new mothers with step-by-step guides, information on where to get help, and resources on breastfeeding. Health professionals will also be able to order promotional materials online and use the site for ideas and inspiration on local activities they could implement.
New support materials, available from mid-April, include leaflets, posters, post-it notes, weight conversion charts, obstetric wheels and a four-page booklet giving advice on continuing to breastfeed after returning to work.
Department of Health spokesperson said: "English breastfeeding initiation rates have increased over the last few years, but we're all aware that we need to do more to get our rates in line with the rest of Europe – particularly among 16–25-year-olds in lower socioeconomic groups. We've listened to requests for more support and are delivering the biggest drive yet to normalise and popularise breastfeeding as well as raise awareness about its very real benefits. We're now urging all health professionals to get behind the campaign, and get more mothers to start breastfeeding with the message that it's normal, it's natural and it's so much better for babies. Health professionals should visit the NHS breastfeeding website where they will be able to obtain resources on breastfeeding and advice on how to run events in their local communities."
As well as visiting the website, to order materials, health professionals can make requests by telephoning Prolog on 08701 555 455.