Monday, 1 February 2016

Study reveals lowest breastfeeding rates in Ireland & The UK






An interesting study has determined that low rates of breastfeeding are costing the state 800m a year. This is due to the shocking low number of Mothers who attempt to breastfeed within the first 48 hours and continue for 12 months.






When we nourish an infant we motivate future economic growth and lifelong health benefits. Breastfeeding is known to increase IQ and prevent obesity in later life. Along with the economic link it also increases life expectancy. And that's not even beginning to mention the health benefits to us women (reduced chance of cervical and breast cancer).


The information on breastfeeding is clear and it leaves no doubt in mind that it is a resourceful investment which holds the key to a brighter future for our children.


However, only 55% of Mother have attempted to breastfeed within 48 hours and a shocking 2% continue until the 12 month mark. Younger Mothers are notably less likely to ever attempt it.





Country
Ever breast fed
Any breast feeding at 12mths
Australia
92
30
Austria
93
16
Canada
89
9
Chile
95
21
Czech Republic
96
16
Finland
92
34
France
63
9
Germany
82
23
Greece
88
6
Ireland
55
2
Italy
86
19
Japan
95
60
Norway
95
35
Russian
96
20
Spain
77
23
Sweden
98
16
Switzerland
94
28
UK
81
0.5
US
79
27

Source: The Lancet


This is an immense contrast compared to our counterparts around the world. Look at Australia and Japan for example.



When we nourish an infant we motivate future economic growth and lifelong health benefits. Breastfeeding is known to increase IQ and prevent obesity in later life. Along with the economic link this increases life expectancy. And that's not even beginning to mention the health benefits to us women (reduced chance of cervical and breast cancer).


But why such low numbers?


All major health authorities around the world say it. Breast is best. However, saying it is indeed easier that doing it. In my country, breastfeeding has been a lost tradition for a long time now. I was formula fed and my Mother was too. Whether this is caused by marketing reporting formula to be more beneficial or the catholic church's message to shame woman's body. Whatever it is, breastfeeding clearly isn’t the norm in my society. I am part of the minority.


We need to commit to expanding breastfeeding and aim to normalise within our country. I believe it will involve supporting women in the following ways:


  • Increase in maternity/ paternity leave
  • Qualified lactation consultants in all hospitals
  • Designated pumping times for working mothers
  • 24 hour lactation hotlines
  • Free nursing equipment (pumps, lanolin cream)





This wont be easy but it's obvious it will be worth it.



Lets get every nation making an effort to protect our children's future and securing the benefits of breastfeeding.


R
xx

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