The content of this website is intended for healthcare professionals only

Cash boost to help Scottish mothers breastfeed for longer

£2 million comes ahead of World Breastfeeding Week 1-7 August

Caroline White

Monday, 30 July 2018

Scottish mothers are to be given more support to help them continue breastfeeding for longer through a £2 million cash boost, the Scottish government has announced.

The monies are in addition to the £2.3 million the Scottish government provides annually to NHS health boards to implement a range of breastfeeding support activities and interventions.

The additional funding comes ahead of World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7),organised by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action.

It will be used by health boards and other partners to prevent or manage common issues which can affect how long mothers breastfeed for.

The investment is part of the government’s commitment made in its Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan, published earlier this month to reduce by 10% the drop-off in breastfeeding rates at six to eight weeks after birth by 2025.

This follows advice from the World Health Organisation which shows that as well as giving babies the best nutritional start in life, breastfeeding can improve the long-term health of mothers and children and help stave off obesity.

The latest figures* on breastfeeding rates in Scotland show that these are low compared to those in other countries worldwide, and that white babies are less likely to be breastfed than babies in any other ethnic group.

Among babies born in Scotland in 2016-17, nearly two-thirds (63%) had ever been breastfed (breastfed for at least some time after their birth) but this figure fell to 41% by 6-8 weeks of age.

Breastfeeding is much more common among older mothers: over half (56%) of mothers aged 40 or over were breastfeeding at the 6-8 week review compared to 12% of mothers aged under 20, the data show.

Public health minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “Breastfeeding has many long and short-term health benefits for both the mother and the child, but we know that for some mums and babies breastfeeding can be challenging.

“It is vital that mums are well supported throughout their time breastfeeding, especially where they may be experiencing difficulties, and this additional funding will help with some of the common issues they may face early on.

“We are also continuing to invest in activities which will normalise breastfeeding and enable mums to feel more comfortable and supported when breastfeeding in public.”

Since 2011, the Scottish government has invested more than £15.8 million directly to health boards for the implementation of the Maternal and Infant Nutrition Framework, of which breastfeeding support is a key component.

*Infant Feeding Statistics Scotland. Financial year of birth 2016/17. National Services Scotland, 31 October 2017.

Registered in England and Wales. Reg No. 2530185. c/o Wilmington plc, 5th Floor, 10 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 8QS. Reg No. 30158470