Key Findings from Breastfeeding Health Needs Assessment (July 2014)

  • In 2012/13, 57% of mothers in Wirral started breastfeeding at birth. By 6-8 weeks breastfeeding had reduced to just 31%.

  • Over recent years the local breastfeeding rates have not reflected the increase that’s been seen nationally, resulting in a widening disparity between Wirral and the rest of England.

  • Within Wirral the breastfeeding rates follow the pattern of deprivation, with the more deprived eastern wards having significantly lower levels of breastfeeding.

  • The lowest breastfeeding rates are amongst young, white mothers from deprived areas

  • Insight work highlighted the need for more practical and honest information about breastfeeding to be given to mothers in the antenatal period.

  • It also identified the importance of the first few breastfeeds in the maintenance of breastfeeding, with some women wanting intensive 1:1 support during this time.

  • Women who stopped breastfeeding reported feelings of guilt and anxiety associated with stopping and some felt they had a lack of information to allow them to bottle feed safely

  • Locally, there are a large number of breastfeeding services and initiatives made available to parents. Wirral spends more per birth than the national average and yet has poorer outcomes in terms of breastfeeding initiation.

  • The evidence base is far from conclusive as to which interventions are likely to be most effective, however some studies advocate taking a targeted, needs-led approach to breastfeeding support as oppose to providing more generic services.

Conclusions and recommendations

  • Encouraging more women to breastfeed involves action across three key areas; establishing breastfeeding as the social norm, providing intense support in the first few hours and days after delivery, giving longer term support in the weeks and months that follow.

  • In order to ensure a coordinated, consistent approach is taken to increasing breastfeeding, a Wirral strategy should be developed in collaboration with key partners

  • The evidence base surrounding effective interventions is inconsistent and therefore detailed evaluations should be undertaken on all local services to ensure they are effective at delivering against outcomes.

  • It should be considered whether current resources could be re-distributed to increase the support available at certain key time-points and to certain target groups.

  • This should be driven by further consultation work with those groups who have the lowest breastfeeding rates.

  • Antenatal classes need to consider how to make the practicalities of breastfeeding more explicit and information also needs to be provided on safe bottle feeding practices.

  • Work with local businesses and local schools should be further developed to promote and normalise breastfeeding within Wirral.

Breastfeeding Health Needs Assessment - July 2014 - here

Key information sources for you to consider:

Health and social care outcomes frameworks (Collection)
Public Health England Data and Knowledge Gateway
NHS Information Centre
JSNA other useful sources of information

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