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UK breastfeeding rates on the rise

New figures released by the NHS Information Centre show an increase in the number of mothers in the UK who choose to breastfeed their newborn babies.

Over eight out of 10 newborn babies in the UK were breastfed at least once in 2010.

In 1990, only six out of 10 newborns were breastfed at least once after birth.

The figures reveal an increase in breastfeeding rates in most areas in the UK, with England having the highest number of mothers who breastfeed compared with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

However, the figures do not reveal how many mothers in the UK continue to breastfeed for the first six weeks and the first six months of a baby's life.

Detailed information on this will be released in 2012.

The latest figures come as campaigners criticised the Department of Health in England for cutting funding for National Breastfeeding Awareness Week, which began on Monday.

Copyright Press Association 2011

NHS Information Centre

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"I am a breast feeding snob. I breast fed both my chldren for years and would never have put formula anywhere near them. However, I was formula fed and am rarely ill having only had 6 days sick leave in 30 years" - Brenda Merchant

"I would encourage more statistical information in relation to the benefits for the baby. I breastfed for 8 months and my baby had swine flu, chest infections, throat infections and has many allergies, some of which require the epipen. I feel very frustrated when I hear people saying that breastfeeding reduces the risk of allergies. I feel this should be more statistical as had I not breastfed I would have been feeling awful thinking I could have prevented my baby from her allergies. It also made me very upset that my milk could not help her. Please give us statistics not false hope" - Jennifer Pritchard, Wales

"Cultural change is still required to ensure breastfeeding becomes the natural choice. Fantastic encouragement for prolonged skin to skin contact after birth seems to be the way forward" - Louise Webb