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Classes affect breastfeeding rate

Children are more likely to be breastfed if their mothers previously attended antenatal classes, research has shown.

About 75% of mothers who attended all or most of their antenatal classes breastfed their child, a University of Edinburgh study found.

This compares with 51% of mothers who did not attend the classes at all.

Previous research has shown that breastfeeding figures are linked to age and educational background.

The study found 86% of mothers with degrees breastfed, compared with 31% of mothers with no qualifications.

But it also shows antenatal classes tripled the chances of breastfeeding, regardless of these factors.

The university's Centre for Research on Families and Relationships interviewed more than 8,000 mothers of young children in Scotland.

Other studies have shown that babies who are breastfed gain protection against conditions such as asthma, eczema and chest infections, and are less likely to be obese in later life.

Valeria Skafida, who led the latest study, said: "This research shows that having access to accurate information is crucial in a mother's decision to breastfeed and that antenatal classes make a big difference in giving children the best start in life."

The University of Edinburgh

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