Swansea University academic, Dr Amy Brown is to speak at the launch of the World Breastfeeding Trends report in Parliament today (15 November).
The UK World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative is a critical new report which seeks to evaluate how well breastfeeding is supported in a country, through measuring 10 key indicators that are known to help support women to breastfeed. These include elements encompassing policy, (such as ensuring a national policy and coordination of services), training, (by educating all layers of the workforce to be skilled breastfeeding supporters), and education( by providing all women with good quality breastfeeding education).
The launch event tonight is hosted by MP Alison Thewliss, leader of the All Party Parliamentary group on Infant Feeding and Inequalities .
Speaking ahead of the event, Dr Brown, author of Breastfeeding Uncovered and Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health, Policy and Social Sciences said: “ This report is an extremely welcome and progressive step in ensuring that policy makers come together in the UK to ensure that breastfeeding mothers truly receive the support they need and deserve.”
She added: ‘The report highlights the need to continue investing in breastfeeding in the UK. Out of a possible score of 100, we score just 50, with clear gaps of how we can move forward. We call on the government now to properly invest in breastfeeding support, training for all staff who work with breastfeeding mothers and clamp down on illegal advertising of infant formula in the UK.
“Breastfeeding may be a normal behavior, but like any behavior, we often need education and support to get to grips with it. At the moment we have a situation where lip service is given urging women to breastfeed, but a lack of investment means that this is often not followed up with good quality, widespread breastfeeding support despite good intentions. This needs to change.
“However, the WBTI highlights how improving breastfeeding reports is wider than that. Breastfeeding is a societal issue in that it is all our responsibility to protect women to breastfeed. We must ensure that we care for our new mothers properly so that they can breastfeed, put policies into place so that they continue to breastfeed on return to work and ensure that all of society is supportive and accepting of mothers breastfeeding in public.
“It is not right that in 2016, when we know the importance of breastfeeding for health and women are protected to breastfeed by law, that women are still made to feel uncomfortable for simply feeding their babies when they are hungry.”
Ahead of the launch, joint co-ordinator of WBTI UK, Helen Gray, MPhil IBCLC, said: ‘Cultural change is needed to transform UK attitudes to infant feeding, as Dr Amy Brown has demonstrated. Our report emphasizes how important it is to have strong policies and programmes in place to support families, to have those essential supports in place as cultural attitudes shift."
Dr Brown agreed: "This report is a critical step in highlighting firstly what we need to do, but secondly in emphasizing the need for joined up services that work together. By emphasizing to policy makers, professionals and industry just how important it is to work towards a breastfeeding change, it indeed sets the wheels of cultural and societal change in motion. We all need to be working together to support the future health and wellbeing of mothers, babies and our society."
- Tuesday 15 November 2016 11.13 GMT
- Tuesday 15 November 2016 13.29 GMT
- Swansea University