Breast is best

A SUFFOLK children's centre is today at the centre of a drive to get new mothers breastfeeding. New figures show that fewer women breastfeed in the UK than almost anywhere else in Europe – something the Department of Health is trying to address.

A SUFFOLK children's centre is today at the centre of a drive to get new mothers breastfeeding.

New figures show that fewer women breastfeed in the UK than almost anywhere else in Europe – something the Department of Health is trying to address.

Now, the South East Ipswich SureStart Children's Centre, in Clapgate Lane, has introduced a number of programmes which has already encouraged scores of mothers in the Gainsborough, Greenwich, Priory Health and Racecourse areas of the town, to turn to breastfeeding.

Angela Walker, 21, who lives in the Ravenswood area of Ipswich, is just one mum who started breastfeeding as a result of the SureStart midwifery programme.

She said: "After my son Connor was born, I automatically started bottle feeding. I was never really interested in breastfeeding, to be honest I thought it looked awful.

"When I was introduced to a midwife from the SureStart team she explained the benefits of breastfeeding.

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"The midwife gave me so much support and encouragement and showed me exactly what to do.

"With her help it was very easy. I have been breastfeeding Connor since he was two-days old and I am so glad I did it because I know it is the best thing for my baby and myself. Our bond is even stronger since I started breast feeding."

Connor is now nearly four weeks old and is still being breastfed.

SureStart programme manager Sandra Shears said: "We have an important role to play in trying to increase the amount of mothers who are breastfeeding.

"We do this by teaching new mums about the long-term benefits of breastfeeding, in terms of their children's health and development.

"We are very pleased with the work we have achieved so far and that we have managed to convince so many mothers that breastfeeding is a better alternative than bottle feeding, but we need to continue this important work.

"We will do this through our midwifery programme, which is designed to give women an informed choice. We also hold antenatal drop-in sessions every Friday, where mothers can come in a get advice at any time; they don't even have to make an appointment."

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "Breastfeeding is a major public health issue. A decision to breastfeed, especially if sustained for the first six-months of a baby's life, can make a major contribution to infant health and development as well as benefiting the mums."

Is breast best? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

weblink: www.doh.gov.uk