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Breast Feeding

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 11 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps his Department has taken to bring about an increase in levels of breastfeeding. (241346)

The Government are committed to the promotion of breastfeeding and the prevalence of breastfeeding at six to eight weeks is a key indicator in the Child Health and Well-being Public Service Agreement. ‘Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives’ a cross-government strategy for obesity (January 2008) aims to reverse the rise in childhood obesity and breastfeeding plays an integral role in this. A copy has already been placed in the Library.

Key actions to increase levels of breastfeeding include the investment of £4 million for the primary care trusts (PCTs) to develop local interventions to promote breastfeeding, including the training of frontline staff; the provision of easily accessible and timely advice to breastfeeding mothers through the national breastfeeding helpline; the recently launched breastfeeding DVD “From bump to breastfeeding” given to all new mothers in England via their midwives and health visitors.

Other key activities include the development of a care pathway for the frontline health professionals; the provision of commissioning guidance for PCTs; and the establishment of a regional and local network to promote breastfeeding.