New figures from the NI Child Health System have revealed that the North West has the lowest figures for breastfeeding rates in the North, despite its obvious health and economic benefits.
The percentage of mothers breastfeeding upon discharge from hospital here is as low as 38.7%, compared to over half of all mothers in the South Eastern area (50.8%), followed by 46.4% in the Southern Heath Trust area, 46% in the Belfast area and 42.6% in the Northern Health Trust area.
However, much work continues to both promote and encourage breastfeeding in the North West, as well as improving the experience of breastfeeding mothers locally. A spokesperson from the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) said yesterday: “The Trust has just received these figures and will need to look at ways to use this information to build on the good work already in place. Promoting choice for mothers, improving the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies and reducing health inequalities constitutes a major priority for the Trust... The Trust actively promotes and encourages breastfeeding as the most natural nutrition for infants.”