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Breastfeeding awareness week


12:00am 19th June 2011

This week (19th - 25th June 2011) is National Breastfeeding Awareness Week and health bosses from NHS Yorkshire and the Humber are promoting the benefits of breastfeeding to new mothers and mums-to-be.

Over 45,200 women started breastfeeding in Yorkshire and the Humber region between April 2010 and April 2011, an increase of over 1,200 women in comparison to the previous year.

Yorkshire new mum, Angela Dunn, 33, said:

"When I was pregnant I decided that I would try giving breastfeeding a go. I wasn't convinced that I would like it, or that I'd do it for long, but I thought the least I could do for my baby is try.

"I'm pleased to say that I have not regretted it one bit. It's so amazing to see your baby grow and gain weight, knowing that it's all down to your milk. And it really has helped to strengthen the bond between us.

“It can be difficult at times, especially in the first few weeks when you and your baby are learning what to do. I was also very self conscious about feeding in public to begin with, but after the first couple of times you realise no one is looking. What also really helped me was seeing other mums breastfeeding in public, it gave me extra confidence that I could do it too.

"No one told me how enjoyable breastfeeding could be and I hope Breastfeeding Awareness Week helps everyone realise the benefits of breastfeeding both for the baby and for the mum. I definitely plan on breastfeeding again if I have more children."

Maternity and midwifery lead for NHS Yorkshire and the Humber, Jean Hawkins, said:

“Breastfeeding gives your baby the best start possible because breast milk contains everything your baby needs for the first six months of life.

“We have made some great progress over the last few years. More women than ever are choosing to breastfeed and the evidence shows women are now breastfeeding for longer.”

New and expectant parents will soon be able to receive a greater range of advice and guidance from maternity support workers. These changes have come about as a result of Healthy Ambitions, a document created by clinical staff, outlining the way forward for the NHS in Yorkshire and the Humber region over the next ten years. Maternity support workers are now receiving enhanced training so they are able to give couples who are expecting a baby even more assistance.

Hospitals and community NHS trusts in the region are also using UNICEF’s baby friendly standards to ensure the best care and information is provided to women and families. This is helping them to make an informed choice about breastfeeding and supporting them to continue when they return home.

Breastfeeding helps to protect your baby against:

  • ear infections
  • gastro-intestinal infections
  • chest infections
  • urine infections
  • childhood diabetes
  • eczema
  • obesity
  • asthma.

Children who have been breastfed are also less likely to become obese later in life.  

Breastfeeding also has a number of health benefits for mothers as well as babies:

  • Breastfeeding can help new mothers lose their pregnancy weight quicker.
  • Breastfeeding releases hormones which help the uterus contract back to its pre pregnancy size.
  • Breastfeeding can help prevent ovarian and breast cancers later in life.
  • Breastfeeding can help to prevent mothers from suffering from weak bones later in life. 
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