Breastfeeding support ‘strong’ in Scotland

Further action to promote a supportive return to work environment for breastfeeding mums called for

Monday 3rd June 2019

Breastfeeding support in Scotland has been rated highly by an expert group in a report published today.

The effectiveness, affordability and feasibility of current support in Scotland was assessed as ‘strong’ by the Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly (BBF) Scottish Committee at the beginning of Scottish breastfeeding awareness week.

Eight recommendations are also made to further improve support, including action to ensure families have equal access to relevant information on feeding their baby.

The group also calls on government to promote a ‘supportive return to work environment’ for mothers.

Visiting a maternity unit in NHS Ayrshire & Arran, the health secretary, Jeane Freeman, said:

“I’d like to thank the BBF committee for their report and recommendations which acknowledge the fact Scotland has been working hard to improve the quality of support for breastfeeding.

“This is an important opportunity to increase our efforts and to consider whether we are all doing enough to enable breastfeeding and to consider what we could do better.”

The Scottish Government has announced a new national Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland Scheme logo to be displayed by participating businesses and organisations.

We need to remove the barriers that cause negativity towards breastfeeding, and to promote it as a natural and healthy activity, which provides babies with the best nutritional start in life,” Ms Freeman added.

A new model of care that brings together maternity and health visiting services, infant feeding teams and peer supporters from the Breastfeeding Network is being piloted in NHS Ayrshire & Arran.  

Professor Hazel Borland, nurse director at NHS Ayrshire & Arran, said:

“Our integrated infant feeding team will give mothers proactive, family-centred, one-to-one breastfeeding care from a peer supporter within 48 hours of birth.

“This will support new mothers to breastfeed for longer, beginning with those for whom we know it can be more challenging. We have a strong partnership with the Breastfeeding Network and are delighted to be working more closely with them to give breastfeeding support to local families.

“We have embraced the new national Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland Scheme and have already introduced it to one of our local breastfeeding friendly venues, Burns Cottage.

“We have also recently created and launched a guideline for our staff to make it clear that we all have a role to play in supporting mothers to breastfeed in our hospitals and buildings.”