UNICEF UK today applauded the government for including breastfeeding in the new public health outcomes framework, recognising this as an important step towards improving the long term health of mothers and babies in the UK.
The number of women breastfeeding their babies at birth (the initiation rate) and at 6-8 weeks will be a measure of how successful new public health policies are, according to the Department of Health document Healthy Lives, Healthy People, published earlier this week.
UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Director, Sue Ashmore, said: “Including breastfeeding as a public health outcome will ensure that health services continue to strive to improve care for mothers and babies around infant feeding."
“Although support for breastfeeding women within the health system has improved over the last five years, there are still many cases of inadequate care which lead to women being unable to start breastfeeding, or having to give up before they wanted to."
"We know that care can be improved, raising breastfeeding rates and reducing health inequalities, through a simple set of measures for either maternity or community services and we applaud the government for including breastfeeding rates as a public health indicator, thus keeping up the incentive for better care for all mothers and babies.”