Low breastfeeding rates must be tackled

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Only 7% of local babies are fed to six months

Workers Party candidate Gemma Weir has called for ‘ a complete re-think’ on how we support mothers to breastfeed after figures emerged which show that only 7% of babies here are breastfed up to six months.

“Recent research shows that 44% of babies left hospital without having tried breastfeeding and that a staggering 93% of children in Northern Ireland are not breastfed for the full first six months.

Clearly we need an urgent re-think on our attitudes to breastfeeding and our understanding of the benefits”, Gemma said

“As a mother who has breastfed I cannot overstate the benefits,. It helps protect baby from infant  illness and develops strong healthy bones and long term resilience. Breast feeding is also beneficial for mum helping to speed up recovery from delivery.

Not only is it healthier, it’s also cheaper than formula milk products and by joining up with a local breastfeeding support group there’s  the chance to get support and meet up with other mums”, added Gemma

“I believe there may also be issues of conflicting advice from healthcare professionals which contributes to the very low rates that have been identified.

I plan to contact staff at the local maternity unit in the Mater Hospital to listen to their views on how we can encourage and support many, many more mothers in north Belfast to breastfed’, Gemma concluded.

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