Interview with Sky News, A New Breastfeeding study.
Research published by the British Medical Journal suggests £31m could be saved by doubling the number of mums who breastfeed for between seven and 18 months as it would reduce their risk of breast cancer, which is costly to treat.
Another £11m could be saved if women who exclusively breastfeed for one week can be encouraged to keep going for four months, because it would help to cut the incidence of common childhood diseases.
The report claims the NHS could realise the savings without persuading more women to breastfeed.
Rather, it hinges on helping those who have already chosen to do so to extend the overall duration of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is a personal choice for a mum to make as to whether she does or doesn't want to try it.
There should be no pressure on the mums who decide it’s not for them and prefer to bottle feed.
Equally some mums try to Breastfeed but cannot continue for one reason or another-whether that be health related or for practical reasons and they should also not be made to feel guilty for moving onto formula feeding their baby.
This study regarding the mums who do start Breastfeeding and would like to continue, states that there is not enough support to enable mums to keep Breastfeeding going long term. I would definitely agree with that.
I have 20-30 ( plus )mums per day emailing me for advice and the common problem they have is that there is no help and advice available to them easily from their local health visitor, midwife or Breastfeeding support groups via the NHS.
When they need additional help they are having to pay for lactation consultants and outside help and for mums who's finances cannot stretch to that, it means they don't get the help and advice they need at a crucial stage of Breastfeeding.
Eventually they may be so exhausted and not sure if they are on the right path and end up giving up Breastfeeding, as they are unable to keep up physically and mentally with the demands of it, without the correct advice.
I provide a free email advice service to parents for that reason. I'm at the end of an email for them to ask me all those quick questions that can mean the difference between them feeling supported and persevering with breastfeeding, knowing they are on the right track or giving up!
Support and encouragement is vital to help a mum continue and giving her a guide to work towards means she can feel happier, less consumed by the demands of Breastfeeding and therefore enjoy her baby more.
However, pressuring mums from the outset to do a minimum of 7-18 months of exclusive Breastfeeding is the wrong way to go about it.
There is already enough pressure that we put on ourselves to succeed and as parents we will naturally do the best for our babies anyway.
For most, it won't be practical to be able to continue for that long, particularly if they have to return to work within a specified amount of time.
If they want more mums to continue Breastfeeding for longer then they need to provide the additional help and support without the pressure!
You can read more about the study here