With the increasing evidence of the short and long term health benefits of breastfeeding, there are a number of national reports and guidance recommending support to encourage mothers to start and continue breastfeeding.
At a local level, improving the uptake for breastfeeding is a key public health issue in Lanarkshire where, in 2005, only 26% of babies were breastfed at 6 weeks compared to 37% in Scotland (see Breastfeeding Rates in Lanarkshire).
More than ten years ago, NHS Lanarkshire launched a strategy for breastfeeding to ensure that more women and children in the area would experience the full benefits of breastfeeding. The plan had three main strands:
- Improving the breastfeeding knowledge and skills of staff in NHS Lanarkshire
- Improving the commitment of staff for breastfeeding
- Improving public acceptability for breastfeeding
A review (Taking Stock and Moving Forward) of the strategy in 2004 set out a series of further actions to be completed by 2007. NHS Lanarkshire recognise that support and encouragement for breastfeeding can be provided at many levels and involving local breastfeeding women in the decision process around this was important. In particular involving local women in mother-to-mother support in the community.
Lanarkshire Breastfeeding Initiative has been at the forefront of a number of initiatives to promote and support breastfeeding in Lanarkshire.
For more information about Breastfeeding in Lanarkshire contact:
NHS Lanarkshire Breastfeeding Co-ordinator