THE BENEFITS of breastfeeding will be highlighted as part of National Breastfeeding Week.
Midwives have already been working with health visitors, children's centres and the National Childbirth Trust to boost support for new mums, according to an Isle of Wight NHS statement issued today (Wednesday).
Midwife Jo Aspden said: "Breastfeeding gives your baby the best start in life. Not only does it help to develop an intimate and affectionate bond between mother and child, it is nutritionally perfect for him or her and reduces their risk of catching many infections such as gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections and ear infections.
"Breastfeeding reduces the chance of them having an allergic disease such as eczema, asthma and wheezing, and is also known to reduce the risk of the baby developing insulin dependent diabetes and childhood leukaemia.
"Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome otherwise known as cot death and can positively influence maternal health and help protect women against certain forms of cancer, including breast cancer and ovarian cancer."
On average, 78 per cent of Island women start breastfeeding but the number drops drastically after six to eight weeks. In a bid to combat this, the midwifery and public health teams at St Mary’s Hospital have taken steps to provide practical and effective support to mums who want to breastfeed.
The Royal College of Midwives will host informal drop-in sessions at Mothercare, Newport, during National Breastfeeding Awareness Week, which runs from Sunday, June 24 to 30.
A midwife or breastfeeding councillor will be available at each session, on Tuesday, June 26, from 10am to 12pm, Wednesday, June 27, from 1pm top 3pm, and Thursday, June 28, from 10am to 12pm.