Doctors want pupils to be taught about breastfeeding

BT.com reports that pupils should be taught about the importance of breastfeeding in schools, leading children’s doctors have said.

“Familiarity with breastfeeding” should be part of personal, health and social education in schools, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said.

A new position paper on breastfeeding, released at the start of World Breastfeeding Week, also calls on ministers to legislate for breastfeeding breaks and facilities suitable in all workplaces for breastfeeding or expressing breast milk.  

Figures for England in 2015/16 show that while almost three-quarters of mothers started breastfeeding, this fell to 43.2% when babies were between six and eight weeks old.

The document suggests that social stigma is at heart of UK’s low breastfeeding rate. Societal attitudes may lead to women feeling uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public or in the presence of peers and family members.

New RCPCH guidance also highlights the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child, as well as the cost savings to families and health services.

The College advises that mothers should be encouraged and supported to breastfeed exclusively for up to six months and solid food should be introduced from six months, ideally alongside breastfeeding, to ensure the infant has adequate nutrition.

Read more Doctors want pupils to be taught about breastfeeding

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