Millions of new mothers are missing out on vital breastfeeding support, a new survey has revealed.
Breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of infections for babies and protects against harmful disorders in later life including diabetes and obesity.
But despite this, the UK has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world, with just one in 200 choosing to breastfeed their child after their first birthday.
Now new research has revealed that breastfeeding support is missing in many parts of the country, with help from peers only being available in 56 per cent of the UK.
The lack of provisions for new mothers has been caused by a decline in funding in many parts of the country, according to the researchers.
BREASTFEEDING REDUCES A WOMAN’S RISK OF PAIN AFTER A C-SECTION BY THREE TIMES
Breastfeeding reduces the discomfort of painful caesarean sections, research revealed last month.
Mothers who breastfeed for at least two months after a C-section are three times less likely to experience persistent pain than those who do so for a shorter period of time, the study found.
Some 23 per cent of women who breastfeed for less than two months report pain at the site of their C-section versus just eight per cent who breastfeed for longer, the research adds.
Anxiety significantly increases a woman’s risk of suffering discomfort after the operation, the study by Our Lady of Valme hospital in Seville also revealed.
Caesarean sections make up around 25 per cent of all births in the UK and US. One in five mothers undergoing the procedure suffer pain that lasts beyond three months.
Yorkshire and north-east London were particularly bad at providing breastfeeding support to new mothers, according to the researchers.
Coordinators reported that a lack of funding is to blame in the decline of breastfeeding support, the research found.
‘Unacceptable’ attitudes to breastfeeding
Juliet Mountford, director of services at parents’ charity NCT, said she was disappointed but not shocked by the findings.
‘Research shows that 80 per cent of mums who stop breastfeeding in the early days do so before they wanted to and women tell us how much they value skilled support to help them continue,’ she told the Guardian.
She added the findings reinforce the need for a change in attitude toward breastfeeding mothers.
‘There needs to be a shift in societal values and attitudes to breastfeeding.
‘[Mothers] are still made to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed when breastfeeding in public places – this is unacceptable and needs to change.’