Increase in number of Lincolnshire mothers choosing to breastfeed
The number of women in Lincolnshire breastfeeding their children has risen – but is still below the national rate.
According to figures released by the Department of Health, 41 per cent of women are breastfeeding their children between the ages of 6 and 8 weeks.
This represents an increase of 5 per cent compared to last year's figures, but still falls behind the national rate of 47 per cent.
Lynne McNiven, consultant in public health for NHS Lincolnshire, said: "We are delighted to see this increase.
"There is still more work to be done to continue this trend and support even more women to breastfeed their baby.
"Not only is breastfeeding the cheapest feeding option, many mums don't realise that it helps them return to their pre-pregnancy weight and can burn around 500 calories a day. Breastfeeding your child can help protect them from infections and illness and reduce child obesity.
"For women it can reduce the risk of breast cancer, osteoporosis and ovarian cancer."
These latest figures are from between September 2010 and September 2011.
Breastfeeding support workers were employed between April 2010 and the following March and Julie Cantwell, infant feeding co-ordinator at Lincolnshire Community Health Services, believes the scheme had a helping hand in the rise.
"The scheme had a noticeable affect on the amount of women who breastfed," she said. "We also noticed that the number of babies who were admitted with weight loss was less and women themselves are coming to us and saying how good the scheme was."
National Breast Feeding Awareness week runs between June 24 and 30 and the NHS in Lincolnshire is working to promote the 26 support groups across the county.
Local Breast Start support groups, managed by Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, will be planning local activities, competitions and picnics.
Emily Bown, 22, from Birchwood, has had three children and breast fed her third child, Kai-Glen.
He suffered from bronchitis and was on a life support machine, but was back at home within four days.
"I think breast milk played a big part in helping him recover. He was eight weeks premature but I found that he didn't spend much time in hospital and even when he did fall ill he wasn't in hospital for long and I think breast milk played a part in that.
"I would encourage mothers to breastfeed their children. I have found that the bond with the child is a lot stronger if you breastfeed them."
To find your local support group, visit www.lincolnshire.nhs.uk