Fewer than three quarters of mums in Eastbourne breastfeed their babies.
According to the Public Health Outcomes framework indicators 2.02i and 2.02ii, 74% of women choose to naturally feed their newborns. That’s just below the national average in England of 74.3%.
The figures have been released as part of Breastfeeding Celebration Week (18 – 27 June), which is being backed by East Sussex County Council’s public health team. The aim is to promote the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mothers and babies.
The Council Council wants to spread the message that breastfeeding is the healthiest option for mother and baby, and to highlight the support that is available to new mums.
Cynthia Lyons, East Sussex acting director of public health, said, “Breast milk is perfectly designed for babies, protecting them from infections and diseases and providing long-term benefits for them into adult life.
“It also has health benefits for mums and can help to build a strong bond between mother and baby, but while it is totally natural, it’s not always easy.
“Health visitors, midwives and children’s centres are available to provide all the support mums need, while there’s also a wealth of information available online.”
New mums are advised to feed nothing but breast milk for the first six months of their baby’s life, then continue to give breast milk alongside family foods for the first two years or as long as they and their baby want to.
If for whatever reason, it isn’t possible to breastfeed exclusively for six months, health visitors can also advise on the best way to feed the baby until they are ready for solid foods.
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of babies getting infections, diarrhoea and vomiting, sudden infant death syndrome and childhood leukaemia, and makes it less likely they will become obese or develop diabetes in adult life.
Meanwhile, breastfeeding for longer decreases the risk for mothers of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
Breastfeeding is welcome in all East Sussex libraries and at local cafes and businesses which display the ‘Breastfeeding welcome’ sticker.
Support is available from midwives and health visitors, or through a free baby-buddy app including breastfeeding support videos, sources of local support and how to get in touch with local breastfeeding peer supporters.
The app can be downloaded online