Breastfeeding at its highest level

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Indy Lifestyle Online

More new mothers than ever are opting to breastfeed their babies, research out today suggests.

Mothers who have given birth within the past year are 30 per cent more likely to breastfeed or expect to breastfeed for longer, between seven and 12 months, compared with women who gave birth in the past five years.

The survey, carried out by baby feeding brand Philips Avent, set out to look at changing trends and attitudes towards baby feeding among new mothers over the past 30 years.

The poll of more than 1,000 mothers found that breastfeeding, whether solely or partially, had risen to 65 per cent over the past 30 years.

Regionally, Plymouth has the highest rate of breastfeeding among new mothers at 78 per cent whereas Liverpool has the lowest at 48 per cent.

However, across the regions, 92 per cent of all mothers said they believed that breast milk was the healthiest way to feed their baby, with 47 per cent saying they felt it was the easiest option for them.

These figures have emerged despite the fact that today's new mothers are more worried about breast-feeding in public than ever before.

However, Vicki Scott, baby-feeding and well-being advisor to Philips Avent, said that the results showed a significant shift in positive attitudes towards breast-feeding.

She said: "There is research coming out all the time about breast-feeding and its benefits and it's great that mums are picking up on the messages."

Miss Scott said many women had been discouraged from breast-feeding because they lacked confidence.

"A lot of women feel they won't be able to do it. With a bottle of milk you know the baby has had his or her feed. With breastfeeding you have to go on instinct and trust that your body will work."

The research also found that concern over breast-feeding in public was a growing barrier and that new mums would breastfeed or would have breastfed more in public if it was more socially acceptable.