New mothers in Milton Keynes are being encouraged to breastfeed their babies for up to TWO YEARS.
Health experts at the city’s Clinical Commissioning Group are endorsing World Breastfeeding Week advice that every child be breastfed within an hour of birth and given only breast milk for the first six months of its life.
They say breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival.
The World Health organisation believes that if every child was breastfed within an hour of birth, given only breast milk for their first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding up to the age of two years, about 800,000 child lives would be saved every year.
But the advice has enraged some local mums - particularly those who tried to breastfeed and failed.
“There is a lot of pressure on new mums to breastfeed, but while it’s easy for the ‘experts’ behind desks to say this, the truth is that breastfeeding can be difficult and not every woman can do it.”
She added”Is breast really best? May it is. But for those mums who are unable to breastfeed, or who have to go back to work, a fed baby is undoubtedly better.”
Another woman said: “New mums can often feel they’re failures anyway and it can be a stressful time. They certainly don’t need this kind of pressure put on them to breastfeed.”
Dr Nicola Smith, GP and Chair at NHS Milton Keynes CCG said: “Breastfeeding has long-term benefits for babies, lasting right into adulthood. Any amount of breast milk has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits.”
“Breastfed babies have less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result, experience fewer chest and ear infections and are less likely to become obese and develop type 2 diabetes later in life.”
Dr Smith added; “For those mums who do breastfeed there can be various benefits, including a lowering of the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding also uses up to 500 calories a day, and can help to build a strong bond between you and your baby.
“Breast milk is one of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts. Not only is it free and available whenever and wherever your baby needs a feed, but it’s the only natural food designed for your baby to help protect it from infections and diseases.”
For more information on World Breastfeeding Week visit http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org.