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Government shy on breastfeeding spending

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Parents reastelieve the government is letting them down when it comes to breastfeeding.

New parents think that the government is not investing enough money in breastfeeding support services, according to research unveiled last month.

The survey by The Baby Show, which was held over the weekend, revealed that 68% of new parents believe the government doesn’t provide enough funding for breastfeeding support services. Which may go some way to explaining why rates of breastfeeding in the UK are the worst in the world despite the fact that 89% of new UK parents had every intention of doing it.

Lack of availability

The most common source of help was midwives. Followed by an NHS lactation consultant or breastfeeding clinic, then a health visitor. The research found that it’s not the quality of care that needs improvement, rather availability. Over half of new parents say they worry that the government is closing down breastfeeding clinics as a means to cut costs. In fact, half said the government should be investing in additional NHS breastfeeding clinics.

Vanessa Christie was the Lactation Consultant and Breastfeeding Expert at The Baby Show. She said: “The essential support that high-quality and accessible breastfeeding services provide for new families across the country, have been systematically squeezed and dis-banded in recent months and years.

I have worked with thousands of new families at the frontline. So I know first-hand how quickly and easily problems can spiral when the right support is not available. Primarily due to lack of access to both staff with specialist credentials and invaluable mother-to-mother peer support programmes. Plus the increasing pressure on existing healthcare services.

Support for breastfeeding

Vanessa Christie

Many councils and healthcare trusts claim that they are fully committed to supporting breastfeeding mothers. However, in a bid to be more cost-effective, it is clear from their actions that they do not understand the unquestionable negative impact that giving lip service to breastfeeding services has on the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies. This does not save money!

On the contrary, it creates a situation where the demand on other services, such as GPs, A&E departments and mental health services only goes up and breastfeeding rates go down. It is well documented that improving breastfeeding rates in general has a significant positive long-term financial impact on healthcare and society as a whole.”

The poll also revealed that in these progressive times, there is still some way to go before new mothers can feel completely comfortable breastfeeding.