Breastfed is best say experts

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HEALTH chiefs are urging mums to come forward as they bid to boost the number of new mothers who breastfeed their babies.

Hartlepool has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country, with high proportions of new mums opting to bottle feed.

The proportion of new mothers who start to breastfeed from birth has risen from 76 per cent to 81 per cent in the past five years, though figures in Hartlepool remain well below that average.

Bosses from health organisations across Hartlepool are planning to review their breastfeeding strategy in an attempt to try and bring Hartlepool’s figures nearer to the national average.

Dr Boleslaw Posmyk, chair of Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Hartlepool has one of the lowest breastfeeding uptake rates in the whole of the country.

“The reason I’m discussing this again is that at the moment, we’re reviewing how to develop the breastfeeding strategy in Hartlepool.

“The aim is to improve the uptake and continuation of breastfeeding.

“I think it’s really important for mothers to breastfeed their babies as there are proven health benefits for both mother and infant.”

Research has proved that babies who are breastfed have a reduced risk of developing a number of medical conditions including diabetes, dental decay, allergies including asthma and various non-specific infections.

Studies also suggest that the benefits for mothers include a reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

Staff at the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, will be issuing advice to new mums while midwives carrying out home visits will also be encouraging the benfits of breastfeeding.

NHS Tees is keen to hear from mums who can share their experiences of breastfeeding as part of its campaign to boost the figures.

They can be contacted by emailing mynhstees@nhs.net, or writing to MY NHS, Communication and Engagement, FREEPOST NEA9906, Middlesbrough, TS2 1BR.