MORE needs to be done to teach women how to breastfeed, according to the MP for Portsmouth South.
Flick Drummond is calling on health managers to fund breastfeeding tuition for GPs in an attempt to encourage more mothers to feed their children naturally.
Mrs Drummond visited a breastfeeding group at Somers Town Children’s Sure Start Centre, where she was told that only 46 per cent of new mothers in Portsmouth are still breastfeeding after two months.
The charity Breastfeeding Network, which runs the group, has designed GP training to help increase that figure, but only two surgeries in the city have signed up.
Mrs Drummond has written to the local Clinical Commissioning Group to urge it to take action and get all surgeries on board.
National breastfeeding rates in the UK are the worst in the developed world with only 0.5 per cent of mothers still naturally feeding their infant after a year. This compares with 27 per cent in the US and 23 per cent in Germany.
‘All the medical evidence points to the fact that breast is best, breast is good for mothers and good for the pocket for families, so it’s absolutely crucial that more is done to get more mothers feeding their babies naturally,’ said Mrs Drummond, who is vice-chairwoman of the Infant Feeding All-Party Parliamentary Group.
‘I know that not all women can or want to breastfeed and, of course, it’s a choice but most are eager to do so and are simply falling through the net through a lack of advice and support in those crucial first few weeks.
‘Having a GP trained to help would be a massive boost and I urge the CCG to look long and hard at making sure the cash is available to get training courses into surgeries.’
She also urged the CCG to continue to fund the Breastfeeding Network and she will write to Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust asking it to speed up security accreditation at Queen Alexandra Hospital for Breastfeeding Network volunteers.