Breastfeeding challenge for Suffolk

Labour Shadow Health and Social Care spokesperson, Cllr Sarah Adams, yesterday challenged health chiefs to improve the rates of breastfeeding in Suffolk.

Following the Health and Wellbeing breastfeeding conference in Trinity Park where many great examples of good practice were being showcased there is still a long way to go to reach breastfeeding levels found in other parts of England.

In figures released by the Department of Health the numbers of women in Suffolk lags well behind many other local authorities across the country. The statistics are measured at two key points, the first is when the child is born, initiation period; the second is 6-8 weeks after the birth. Whilst initiation rates are around the national average the fall off rate for the 6-8 weeks figure is enormous. The number of children not breastfed at the 6-8 week point in Suffolk is 54.6%. Compare this with our partner authority in London City and Hackney, which has a rate of just 16.5% of mothers who do not breastfeed.

Cllr Adams said “it is vital that more mothers breastfeed for the health of the child and the long term wellbeing of mothers too. Research shows that breastfeeding can increase a child’s resilience and increases the bond between mother and child as well as strengthening family relationships. Other research has shown that that breastfeeding can decrease the chances of hip and wrist fractures in post-menopausal woman.
It is important that breastfeeding is seen as a natural and positive part of child development whilst not being critical of those unable to do so”.

“Suffolk should be leading the way in creating a baby friendly county where breastfeeding is welcomed. We have an opportunity here to lead the way with all the agencies and voluntary sector working together. I am already committed supporting the Breastfeeding Network (BFN) and will be encouraging other county councillors to follow my lead”.

Notes to editors
Breastfeeding statistics: Q4, 2012 to 2013
Department of Health

Breastfeeding protects against hip fracture in postmenopausal women: The Tromsø study
The researcher’s report that women who breastfed were 50% less likely to suffer a hip fracture and were 27% less likely to sustain a fragility fracture than women who did not breast feed. These risks were calculated after adjusting for age, body mass index (BMI), height, physical activity, smoking, diabetes, previous hip or wrist fractures, treatment with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and their length of education.

Åshild Bjørnerem, Luai A Ahmed, Lone Jørgensen, Jan Størmer, Ragnar M Joakimsen,
Article first published online: 21 NOV 2011

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