31 July 2018
To mark the start of World Breastfeeding Week 2018, Channel 4’s current affairs programme Dispatches aired “Breastfeeding Uncovered”, investigating the reasons behind the UK’s low breastfeeding rates.
The programme follows food journalist Kate Quilton’s breastfeeding journey with her first baby, navigating many issues women face when starting out with breastfeeding.
Setting the scene for infant feeding in the UK, Baby Friendly Programme Director Sue Ashmore discussed the UK context, and how this has a huge impact on women’s breastfeeding journey and decisions:
“Most women really want to breastfeed, so our initiation rates are around 80% but then our drop off rates are really quite high and we are down to around half of babies being breastfed by the time are six weeks. By the time we get to six months it’s around 30% who are giving any breast milk to their babies and 1% exclusively breastfeeding.”
“Because we are such a bottle feeding culture, in our country if you have problems the answer tends to be to bottle feed and to change that we need to look at not just the situation of individual mums but to actually look at our society as a whole and take a sort of bigger picture and say what would we need in the UK to change our culture.”
A blog by Sue Ashmore highlights the effects of our bottle feeding culture on breastfeeding, and further blogs from fellow interviewees on the programme, such as Amy Brown and Emma Pickett, will be published on our site throughout World Breastfeeding Week.