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​Local doctors support breastfeeding week


World Breastfeeding Week 2015 (1-7 August) is once again supporting and empowering women to breastfeed. Whether women are working in the formal, non-formal or home setting – the week is all about women's right to breastfeed anywhere and everywhere.
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In the UK the number of babies' breastfed at birth has risen to 81 per cent, knocking the myth that breastfeeding isn't popular anymore. Many women breastfeed because it has endless health benefits and is good for babies and mothers. Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed babies and protect them from infections, diseases and is available whenever and wherever a baby needs a feed.

Dr Yvonneke Roe, local GP and clinical lead for prevention at NHS Southwark CCG, said: "Breastfed babies have less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting, fewer chest and ear infections, and less chance of being constipated. They also have a reduced risk of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life.

"Breastfeeding has many benefits for babies and mothers too. It lowers the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer; naturally uses up to 500 calories a day and can help build a strong bond between mother and baby. Any amount of breastfeeding has a positive effect. The longer a mum breastfeeds, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits."

Breastfeeding can also save money - infant formula, the sterilising equipment and feeding equipment can be costly. Even if a woman has been formula-feeding for a few days she could change her mind and breastfeed. If you have questions, speak to your midwife or health visitor as soon as possible for support and advice. You can also find online details of Southwark breastfeeding support services or call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212.

Not all women can breastfeed for good reasons. Woman with HIV or in rare cases woman taking certain types of medication are recommended to bottle-feed with infant formula. Your midwife, health visitor or GP will be able to help you if you are unsure whether you can breastfeed.

Visit NHS Choices for advice and information around breastfeeding or find out more about World Breast Feeding Week at www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org