Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre reveal that mothers are breastfeeding their babies for longer than they did in studies compiled in 2010 and 2005; with one in three mothers still doing so at six months.
The study also showed that mothers were most likely to breastfeed if they fell into one of the following categories’; aged over 30, from a minority ethnic group, university educated or living in affluent areas.
The three most common reasons given by mothers who stopped breastfeeding were: baby rejecting the breast, mother experiencing painful breasts, and mothers’ fears that the milk supply was insufficient.
Louise Silverton, the Royal College of Midwives Director for Midwifery, welcomed the rise but suggests there is still work to be done and said: “There needs to be a sea change in public attitude towards breast feeding in public places and more need to be done to increase the visibility of breast feeding and its acceptability in public. We are concerned that due to staff shortages women may not be getting the postnatal support they need from midwives whilst they establish breast feeding in the early days after birth, due to lack of time and resources for midwives to spend with women”.