Whether you are pregnant or you have just had a baby and are thinking of breastfeeding getting off to the best possible start is so important.
The decision about how long to breastfeed is very personal and can depend on a number of factors. Both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF recommend that a baby is exclusively breastfed for the first six months (around 26 weeks), and for breastfeeding to continue beyond that time along with solid food for two years or more. The reality is that although most babies are breastfed at the beginning, very few babies in the UK continue to be breastfed beyond the first few months as we have one of the lowest breastfeeding rates for any developed country. See here for information.
This means that our society is not used to seeing breastfeeding and so schools, colleges, employers, families and communities lack awareness of breastfeeding. This can make the decision to breastfeed a more difficult one for a mother, particularly during times of change like returning to study or going back to work.
Support and understanding of breastfeeding is growing. We know that every drop of breast milk that a baby receives is valuable and the longer breastfeeding continues the greater the benefits to both your baby and you.
Each month of breastfeeding lowers the risk of illnesses that can put babies into hospital. It also helps protect babies against becoming overweight or obese, which means they are less likely to develop diseases like diabetes in the future. (The Breastfeeding Network, 2014)
From Bump to Breastfeeding
Researchers from Cardiff University asked women about their experience of feeding their babies
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