teenagers say breast is best

FOR the first time, breastfeeding is to be advertised on TV and radio -for National Breastfeeding Awareness Week and thereafter . Features editor TRACEY SPARLING meets Ipswich mums who say breast is best.

By Tracey Sparling

FOR the first time, breastfeeding is to be advertised on TV and radio -for National Breastfeeding Awareness Week and thereafter . Features editor TRACEY SPARLING meets Ipswich mums who say breast is best.

TRENDY teenagers Siobhion Spooner and Jo Long turn to tradition when it comes to their babies.

The 18-year-old mums from Ipswich are among the growing number of UK mothers who breastfeed. The figure has risen from 66per cent in 1995 to 76pc in 2005 which are the latest figures.

Today Siobhion and Jo give talks to young mums, at the Baby And Me antenatal groups which meet at the Infobar in Fore Street.

“We talk about the benefits, and how we found things,” said Siobhion who takes along her ten-month-old son Tyler.

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“We also talk about the disadvantages because it's important to be honest. We gave our first talk last year, and hope to make it a regular thing.”

Breast milk gives babies all the nutrients they need for the first six months of life and helps protect them from infection. It also reduces mothers' chances of getting certain diseases later in life.

Siobhion added: “I went to Baby and Me when I was pregnant and it was a really big help because you can go to normal antenatal groups but this one is especially for young mums which just really helped and I found out so much. There are usually about seven or eight mums attending and it's nice because you get to make friends too.”

Since then Siobhion and Jo - with babies Tyler and Lewis - have been attending Sunflowers on Thursdays, a mother-and-baby group meeting at the Wellington Centre at Chevallier Street.

They say breastfeeding is also more acceptable in public these days - only 23 per cent of people say they don't agree with it according to recent omnibus research conducted by the Department of Health.

It's natural to have questions about breastfeeding successfully. You can speak to your midwife, health visitor or GP, or call:

Association of Breastfeeding Mothers 0870 401 7711

The Breastfeeding Network 0870 900 8787

La Leche League 0845 120 2918

National Childbirth Trust 0870 444 8708

1 Breastfeeding allows you and your baby to get closer - physically and emotionally. So while your child is feeding, the bond between you can grow stronger.

2 Breast milk is easy for your baby to absorb and is perfect to help him grow and develop.

3 Breastfeeding helps protect your baby against: ear infections, gastro-intestinal infections, chest infections, urine infections, childhood diabetes, eczema, obesity, asthma.

4 New research from the World Health Organisation proves breastfed babies have less chance of having high blood pressure and high cholesterol, are 37 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes and are 22 per cent less likely to be obese or overweight in later life.

5 Breastfeeding helps protect mothers against: ovarian cancer, breast cancer, weak bones later in life.

6 Women who breastfeed return to their pre-pregnancy figure faster - by burning 500 calories a day.

Nell McAndrew

"Breastfeeding has so many benefits. I'm like any new mum. I'm finding my feet with motherhood but I just want the best for my baby - and for me that's breastfeeding. It's got so many enormous health benefits that just can't be found anywhere else. And its other big bonus for me is the fact that it's convenient, hassle-free and fits into my everyday life."

Lucy Benjamin

"I was your typical first-time mum. I wanted to give my baby absolutely the best of everything. Breastfeeding meant she has avoided allergies and infections in the early months. But the really good news is that she is protected against some serious problems in later life like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. It's definitely been a labour of love sometimes, but, in the middle of all the new motherhood experiences that bombard you, it's good to know that you are doing at least one thing that's so right."

Kym Marsh

"Like any mum-to-be, I was very interested to hear about all of the health benefits to both the baby and to the mother, but the other bonus is that it can make life more simple at a time when simplifying things can be such an advantage.

“It's obviously quite an effort for a new mum learning her way to be totally organised with sterilising, buying formula, measuring it out, sorting out bottles and getting them to just the right temperature. Breastfeeding can help make life more convenient - you can just feed your baby whenever and wherever you like."

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