National Breastfeeding Week runs from the 20th to the 26th of June in the UK, and World Breastfeeding Week follows from the 1st to the 6th of August. This extended period focused on breastfeeding infants is a great time for new mothers and mothers-to-be to learn about a new program for breastfeeding infants, Start4Life. Start4Life is promoted by the UK Department Of Health as an encouragement to mothers to consider breastfeeding infants, and to help them breastfeed for longer.
UK Statistics on Breastfeeding Infants
A June 2011 brief from the UK government public health archives reports breastfeeding infants has important health benefits for both the babies and mothers. Breastfeeding is the best nutrition that infants can get, and it also improves their natural defenses against infections. Breastfeeding infants should continue past the initial weeks on to at least six months, according to health professionals, but less than half of UK mothers make it past the 8-week mark.
UNICEF understands the importance of breastfeeding infants for this minimum period of six months, and encourages mothers worldwide with educational campaigns such as the Baby Friendly Initiative. Among other benefits, breastfeeding promotes brain development, encourages more loving relationships, and helps to prevent disease and other health risks. The UK Department of Health supports the push of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for NHS facilities to obtain accreditation from UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Initiative so that primary healthcare providers and frontline staff will be better equipped to give appropriate care in this area.
Mothers in the UK are not doing well with breastfeeding infants. The UK rate falls below that of most other countries according to a UK public health press release on the results of a Public Health England (PHE). The survey shows that only about three quarters of the mothers in the UK breastfed at all. Moreover, many of these mothers reported that they were unprepared for breastfeeding because they were more concerned about preparing clothes and baby equipment and preparing for labour than learning about breastfeeding infants. About a quarter of those surveyed furthermore said that they later wished they had learned more about breastfeeding infants before their first child. According to UK health professionals, this information would have significantly decreased the drop of rate..
Encouraging Breastfeeding for Longer
If mothers had better access to more information about breastfeeding infants, it would likely make a real difference in how long they would continue giving their babies the best nourishment. The Baby Friendly Initiative is a program that aims to do just that, and the Bamboo Factory wants to promote the same.
Start4Life is a program designed by the PHE to help new mothers access information about breastfeeding infants more easily. Start4Life provides a very convenient channel, the Breastfeeding Friend. It’s a chatbot that is available on Facebook Messenger and a range of other platforms, including Amazon Alexa skills.
This is a great alternative to the more traditional channels since many new mothers are either embarrassed to approach health care professionals for help, or cannot easily meet with one for advice. The Breastfeeding Friend provides helpful tips to help make breastfeeding infants easier, and also encourages both parents to adopt healthy behaviours. Mothers can conveniently ask the Breastfeeding Friend questions about breastfeeding infants and privately get answers that are appropriate to the age of their babies.
Some of the more common difficulties with breastfeeding infants include finding the correct position so that the baby is comfortable enough to feed, getting adequate support for the back, arms and shoulders to avoid painful joint and muscle strain for the mother, and preventing additional stress that is likely to result in poor lactation and create further discomfort for the baby.
The Bamboo Factory has a variety of items that can help mothers adopt healthier habits that will help them avoid difficulties and continue breastfeeding their infants. For instance, there’s the shredded memory foam pillow, an antibacterial memory foam pillow with an antimicrobial bamboo fibre cover that provides superior support during both breastfeeding and sleep. There’s also the organic bamboo reusable nursing breast pads that are very effective at preventing irritation that can make breastfeeding painful while they prevent embarrassing leakage in public. Both memory foam and bamboo are safe and healthy options for the whole family, even babies. With these kinds of healthful products, breastfeeding infants can be the enjoyable experience that it is meant to be rather than the often insurmountable struggle that is causing most mothers to give up before they can reach even the bare minimum period that is recommended for their babies’ well being.