June 16 – This year’s breast-feeding awareness week has been saved and will take place later this month, it has been announced. New efforts to promote breastfeeding will be made during the week that was scheduled as Breastfeeding Awareness Week, June 19 to 25. The government has withdrawn its funding for the initiative, but Mothercare and the Royal College of Midwives are funding a range of events. These include informal advice points at Mothercare stores and help and guidance from local midwives, particularly in areas with low breastfeeding rates.
The Royal College of Midwives says these activities “will offer an excellent opportunity to engage with mothers and their wider family – partners, sisters and grandparents – who often play an important supporting role.”
A Mothercare survey found that 75 per cent of new mothers breastfeed their babies from birth, but only 23 per cent were still breastfeeding at three months. The aim of the initiative is to “support breastfeeding, encourage more women to consider and continue breastfeeding for longer, and to help raise awareness of the well-documented benefits of breastfeeding”.
A spokesperson from the Department of Health recently commented: “The department is unable to offer any funding this year for National Breastfeeding Week. “We value the work being done by many of the dedicated professional bodies and other organisations in this area who, along with the government, are committed to promoting breastfeeding. We hope that the good work continues, enabling key partners to plan and run coordinated events and activities in support of breastfeeding.”