£2M to help support breastfeeding

29 July 2018, 12:28


Funding to help more mothers breastfeed is being almost doubled with the Scottish Government announcing an extra £2 million investment.

The cash boost, revealed ahead of World Breastfeeding Week, will go to health boards and others and will help tackle problems which can see mothers give up breastfeeding.

The Scottish Government is already working to reduce the drop off rate for breastfeeding by the times babies are six to eight weeks old by 10% by 2025.

The latest figures show 63% of babies born in Scotland in 2016-17 had been breastfed at some point, with two-fifths (41%) still being breastfed at six to eight weeks.

The NHS report, which was published in October, said "breastfeeding rates in Scotland are low compared to those in other countries worldwide".

Ministers already provide £2.3 million a year to NHS boards to support breastfeeding - with the World Health Organisation saying this gives babies the best nutritional start and can also improve the long term health of mothers and their children.

Public Health Minister Joe Fitzpatrick said: "Breastfeeding has many long and short-term health benefits for both the mother and the child but we know that for some mums and babies breastfeeding can be challenging.

"It is vital that mums are well supported throughout their time breastfeeding, especially where they may be experiencing difficulties, and this additional funding will help with some of the common issues they may face early on.

"We are also continuing to invest in activities which will normalise breastfeeding and enable mums to feel more comfortable and supported when breastfeeding in public."