A SUMMIT will be held in the New Year to look at ways of encouraging more women to breastfeed their babies.
The event is aimed at addressing the relatively static rates of breastfeeding in Scotland over the last decade.
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Figures show 48.4 per cent of babies were breastfed at around 10 days old in 2013/14, compared with 44.4 per cent in 2004/05.
The data shows a trend towards babies being fed both breast and formula milk, as well as a decline in breastfeeding by the 6-8 week stage.
Experts in the field will come together to share the latest evidence on the benefits of breastfeeding, review what is working well and identify ways to drive up rates.
A key focus will be on increasing rates of breastfeeding in the most deprived areas in order to help reduce health inequalities.
Mothers in the wealthiest areas are nearly three times as likely to exclusively breastfeed at 6-8 weeks compared with those in the most deprived areas.
Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said: “Breastfeeding has major health benefits, in the short and longer term, for both mother and baby. That is why the Scottish Government continues to promote it as the best source of nutrition for babies.
“We know it is important to understand the factors which influence a mother’s infant feeding decision and develop effective strategies to encourage more women to breastfeed.
“Research shows that women who know about the health benefits of breastfeeding are more likely to start, therefore it’s essential that in the antenatal period the health benefits of breastfeeding are discussed and explained to all women.”
The summit will be held on February 24 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh.
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