National Breastfeeding Awareness Week 10th – 16th May: The facts!

May 12, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Posted in Baby Care & Health, General Advice, New Born | Leave a comment
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This week, 10th – 16th May 2009 is National Breastfeeding Awareness Week.

We asked the organisers, The Department of Health, for the low down!

Tell us about NBAW

The theme of National Breastfeeding Awareness Week this year is ‘Breastfeeding: every day makes a difference to your baby’.

This National Breastfeeding Awareness Week (NBAW) the Department of Health launched the new UK-WHO growth charts for babies based for the first time EVER on only breast fed babies (the old ones are based on formula fed babies). 

What will be happening?

Activity will be happening all over the UK – including support from trained breastfeeding counsellors and peer supporters in selected Asda Cafe’s around the country, for mums to ask questions and breastfeed (ASDA is one of many ‘Breastfeeding Friendly Places’ where breastfeeding is welcome)

How can we get more help and support?

There is a National Breastfeeding Helpline (0300 100 0212) which mums/dads/anyone can call and speak to a trained breastfeeding volunteer in their local area.

The Department of Health provides a free DVD ‘from bump to breastfeeding’ available to all pregnant women and distributed by midwives and health visitors

You can visit our website

What are the recommended guidelines on breastfeeding?

The Department of Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months (26 weeks) of an infant’s life, as breast milk provides all the nutrients a baby needs at this time.  Breastfeeding (and/or breastmilk substitutes, if used) should continue beyond the first six months along with appropriate types and amounts of solid foods

Research indicates breastmilk helps protect babies from infection and diseases such as gastro-intestinal infections, ear infections, urine infections, eczema and obesity in later childhood.  Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: A Cross-Government Strategy for England aims to reverse the rise in childhood obesity, and breastfeeding plays an integral role in this. Breastfeeding also provides health benefits for mothers. It can help them to return to pre-pregnancy weight and can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer later in life.  

How many mums breastfeed?

In England, 78% of mothers initiate breastfeeding and only 22% are still breastfeeding at 6 months. Initiation rates for many other European countries are much higher: Norway: 99%; Denmark: 98%; Sweden: 97.7%; Switzerland: 94%; Austria: 93%; Italy: 91%; Spain: 84.2%, whilst France, Ireland and Germany have lower rates than England Germany: 77.8%; France: 69%; Ireland: 53%.

Want to know more?  Visit or post your questions here and we’ll do our best to get them answered for you!

For more on the new UK-WHO growth charts, email


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