Local doctors support breastfeeding week
World Breastfeeding Week 2015 (1-7 August) is once again supporting and empowering women to breastfeed. Whether women are working in the formal, non-formal or home setting, the week is all about women's right to breastfeed anywhere and everywhere.
In the UK the number of babies' breastfed at birth has rose to 81 per cent, knocking the myth that breastfeeding isn't popular anymore. Many women breastfeed because breastfeeding has endless health benefits and is good for babies and mothers. Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed babies and protects a baby from infections and diseases and is free and available whenever and wherever a baby needs a feed.
Dr Marc Rowland, a local GP and Chair of Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group said: "Breastfed babies have less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting, fewer chest and ear infections, less chance of being constipated and of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life.
"Breastfeeding doesn't only benefit babies but benefits mothers too. Breastfeeding lowers the risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer; naturally uses up to 500 calories a day and can help build a strong bond between mother and baby. Any amount of breastfeeding has a positive effect. The longer a mum breastfeeds, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits."
Breastfeeding can also save money - infant formula, the sterilising equipment and feeding equipment can be costly. Even if a woman has been formula-feeding for a few days she could change her mind and breastfeed. She should speak to her midwife or health visitor as soon as possible for support and advice or call the National Breastfeeding Helpline, telephone 0300 100 0212.
Not all women should breastfeed. Woman with HIV or in rare cases when they are taking certain types of medication – under these circumstances it is recommended to bottle-feed with infant formula. Other women can't get breast feeding established for a variety of reasons and bottle feeding is the only alternative.
In 1990, the United Nations and governments set eight global Millennium Development Goals to fight poverty and promote healthy and sustainable development by 2015. Breastfeeding is linked to them all and World Breastfeeding Week is designed to keep it at the forefront of efforts to fight poverty and improve infant health.
Visit NHS Choices for advice and information around breastfeeding. Anyone organising an event to promote breastfeeding can have their event uploaded to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action website. Visit http://www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org/.