World Breastfeeding Week
The benefits of breastfeeding are well known, but the process is not always easy. Women need to be supported and empowered during this emotional and inmportant time, writes Claire Axcell
As a student midwife, breastfeeding is something that we speak about often, from the booking appointment to postnatal appointments to support women who wish to breastfeed their babies. In the UK, 80% of women initiate breastfeeding, but rates of exclusive breastfeedinging are 55% at 6 weeks, and 1% by the time the baby is 6 months old (Fox et al, 2015). The UK has some of the worst breastfeeding rates in the world, so what is it that causes this massive drop off? One aspect that can have a huge impact on the success of a feeding relationship is, quite simply, the right support (Fox et al, 2015).
As a mother, I breastfed both of my children until they were at least two. I'll be honest, I found breastfeeding very challenging. I dealt with problems of tongue-tie, mastitis, nursing strikes, teething and weaning, and it was the support of others, both in real life and online, that helped me work through these issues. As a teenager, I had friends who had breastfed their children, and who spoke to me about feeding. When I was pregnant, I read blogs and attended a local mother-and-baby group, where I found a small support network of other mums who had children of a similar age. This support was vital to my breastfeeding journey.
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