Health professionals at Nottingham City Council are urging more mothers to breastfeed their babies after figures revealed that rates in the City continue to improve.

Breastfeeding carries major benefits for both mum and baby, and the recommended advice is that all infants are breastfed until they are at least six months old.

While slightly less women begin to breastfeed in Nottingham compared with the rest of the country (71.1% against 74.3%), of those who do start, more continue beyond the first six to eight weeks (47.7% against 43.2%).

The decision to start – and then continue – breastfeeding is a complex one, but there is excellent support in Nottingham to help those families that choose to. Indeed, more young women, and also those from deprived communities, breastfeed when compared with national figures.

The advantages of breastfeeding include:

  • A woman’s breast milk is perfectly designed for her baby
  • It protects baby from infections and diseases
  • It offers health benefits to the mother
  • Breast milk is available whenever baby needs it
  • It can build a strong emotional bond between mother and baby

Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years, said: “More women in Nottingham are recognising the benefits of breastfeeding to their babies and themselves. Our rates in the city are ahead of the national average at two months, but we can always do more to promote the long-term health benefits to new mums.

“Breastfed babies will typically have fewer infections and tummy bugs, as well as reduced risk of serious conditions like sudden infant death syndrome, type-2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

“Breastfeeding is great for mum, too, because it lowers the chance of obesity and heart disease, as well as breast and ovarian cancer. It can also help them to lose baby weight, is cheaper than formula and is both immediate and convenient.

“We’d recommend that all babies are breastfed for at least the first six months of their life and this can continue beyond that alongside a healthy weaning plan. There is good support for new mums in Nottingham who want to breastfeed and we continue to help promote this with our partners in the NHS.”

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