Peer support is recommended by the World Health Organization for the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding, but in a survey of 136 service managers with jobs related to infant feeding across UK NHS Trust and Health Board areas, breastfeeding peer supporters were available in only 56 per cent of NHS areas.
There was no standardised provision of breastfeeding peer support around the UK, and services were regularly adapted in line with funding available, rather than number of births or perceived need.
“This research highlights that breastfeeding peer support services vary around the UK, meaning that mothers who want to breastfeed receive very different services depending on where they live,” said Aimee Grant, lead author of the Maternal and Child Nutrition study.
“We also found that although services wanted to attract mothers from poorer areas, they did not always attract them as service users, which may exacerbate health inequalities.
To view the paper, visit: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mcn.12476/full
Reference: Aimee Grant, Kirsten McEwan, Sally Tedstone, Giles Greene, Lauren Copeland, Billie Hunter, Julia Sanders, Rhiannon Phillips, Amy Brown, Mike Robling and Shantini Paranjothy. Availability of breastfeeding peer support in the United Kingdom: A cross-sectional study. Maternal & Child Nutrition.