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The benefits of home support in encouraging breastfeeding

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Breastfeeding support in the community can enable women to sustain breastfeeding for longer, benefiting babies, writes Rachel Duxbury

Breastfeeding is not always as easy as it looks. In some cases, it takes considerable determination, persistence and resilience to make it through the first few weeks. Initiation rates for the Bradford district currently stand at 67.6 per cent but latest statistics show this drops sharply to 47.1 per cent by six to eight weeks, of which only 30.8 per cent of women are breastfeeding exclusively.

For those women who do abandon breastfeeding in the first six weeks, most report pain as the main reason for their decision to switch to artificial milk, followed by difficulties with attachment and positioning; perceived insufficient milk supply; and slow infant weight gain. These reasons are reflected across the country as a whole. So what more can be done to support women and their babies in those early first few weeks?

Personal experience
My personal breastfeeding journey started in 2003, after the birth of my son. Delivery by emergency caesarean section, coupled with a totally unrealistic expectation of what breastfeeding would entail, led to an unsuccessful first attempt at latching - a pattern which was to be repeated over the next two days.

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