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Scheme tackles breastfeeding fears

Scheme tackles breastfeeding fears

The University of Ulster has launched a new initiative to try and increase the number of new mums who breastfeed.

The move comes after a survey showed that mothers in the province are the worst in the UK for breastfeeding.

Not only did they have the lowest uptake, but those who did breastfeed their newborn were the quickest to quit, the Infant Breastfeeding Survey showed.

Only 63% of new mothers in Northern Ireland began breastfeeding in hospital in 2005, compared with 78% in England, 70% in Scotland, and 67% in Wales.

After six weeks, 23% of mothers in England were exclusively breastfeeding, while just 13% were in Northern Ireland. And at four months the rate dropped to 4% in Northern Ireland, half the number in England.

But the University of Ulster is hoping to make a difference to the figures with its 'Designer Breastfeeding Programme.'

The programme includes a book and DVD on breastfeeding as well as an antenatal workshop for couples.

A clinical trial carried out at the Ulster Hospital maternity unit showed significant increases in the length of time new mums breastfeed, the university said.

Some 82% of new mums using the programme began breastfeeding - compared with 70% in the hospital's usual 'Baby Friendly' scheme.

University of Ulster

Related story: Anxious mothers less likely to breast feed

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"Yes, definitely, anything to help would be useful. I work with young mums and they do need all the encouragement to breast feed"  - Mary Jackson, Lead Nurse, Young People Harlow

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