News from the UK earlier this month has given not only new mums, but government agencies yet another reason to support breastfeeding: it saves everyone money.
It’s no secret that families save money each week on expensive formula if they breastfeed, but this recent analysis, conducted by UNICEF UK, claims that the UK could save £42 million dollars every year if mums breastfeed, £11m being saved in preventing infections such as gastrointestinal illnesses and ear infections in babies, and £31 million in reducing the occurrence of breast cancer.
Why Mums Stop Early
Most new mums start off with every intention of breastfeeding and, for the most part, receive support while in the hospital after the birth of her baby. But once a mum goes home, that’s when she faces significant challenges when breastfeeding her bub and has little to no support or encouragement to continue.
UNICEF UK found that 81% of mums start breastfeeding, but by the four month mark 7% of mums in the UK are still exclusively breastfeeding her baby.
The numbers here in Australia are a bit better, with 96% of new mums starting breastfeeding, but only 15% of babies are being exclusively breastfed at 5 months. This is despite the National Health and Medical Research Council recommending that mums exclusively breastfeeding until baby is approximately 6 months old.
Finding the Support You Need
We’re fortunate here in Australia to have a number of associations and groups who offer breastfeeding support for free and are available 7 days a week. Mums who are struggling with breastfeeding can find support through:
The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA): The ABA has created the National Breastfeeding Helpline staffed by over 400 trained counselors. They are available at 1800-mum-2-mum or 1800-686-268.
La Leche League International: This international group provides email support, group support, and will even often come to you home to provide guidance and support. Find them on Facebook or visit their website.
Local Support Groups: There are a number of local breastfeeding support groups throughout Australia that offer assistance with breastfeeding. Contact your local health authority or give your doctor or midwife a ring and ask about local resources that support breastfeeding.