Just one in 12 new Scots mothers use NHS infant feeding website

Almost eight out of ten Scottish mothers do not even know an NHS website to help with infant feeding exists. Picture Michael Gillen
Almost eight out of ten Scottish mothers do not even know an NHS website to help with infant feeding exists. Picture Michael Gillen
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An NHS website set up to advise on infant feeding has been visited by fewer than one in 12 new mothers, a major new survey has revealed.

Only 8 per cent of mothers with a baby aged between eight and 12 weeks said they looked at the www.feedgood.scot website.

Almost eight out of ten (77 per cent) said they were not aware the website existed.

Meanwhile, 15 per cent of mothers said they knew about the online resource, but had not looked at it.

The figures were revealed in the Scottish Government’s maternal and infant nutrition survey, which some 8,000 pregnant women and mothers of babies up to one year old took part in.

The survey also found nearly three out of ten mothers (29 per cent) of babies aged between eight and 12 months gave their infant “treats”, such as chocolate buttons, ice cream, crisps or cheese puffs, at least once a day.

In addition, some parents were giving babies drinks not recommended for such young children, including 3 per cent who were giving their babies tea.

Tap water is the only recommended alternative to breast or formula milk outside of meals for babies aged between six and 12 months.

But the survey found some parents were giving other drinks, such as sugar free or no added sugar diluting juice (12 per cent), cows’ milk (4 per cent), tea (3 per cent), undiluted fresh fruit juice (2 per cent) or diluting juice with added sugar (1 per cent).

By the time their babies were eight to 12 months old, 85 per cent of mothers said they were eating three or more meals a day, with 74 per cent of infants receiving at least one snack.

Three quarters (75 per cent) of mothers with babies aged eight to 12 weeks old reported they had fed their child breast milk “at some stage”. However, the proportion of youngsters who were breastfed fell as babies grew older.

When their babies were four days old, 69 per cent of mothers said they were giving breast milk, but by the time infants were six weeks of age, this had reduced further to 55 per cent.

The research was carried out between March and July last year.

More than 2,500 women took part in each section of the survey, which looked at diet and nutrition in pregnant women, mothers with babies aged eight to 12 weeks and those with infants aged from eight months to one year.

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: “This survey, the only one of its kind to be carried out anywhere in the UK since 2010, found that there has been welcome progress in encouraging breastfeeding in Scotland.

“We want to go further and continue to build on these improvements.

“The survey also provides insights into where we can do more, particularly in the early days and weeks after birth. It is my aim to ensure our work to increase support in this area for new mothers will continue.

“The findings of the survey will also be used to inform the development of our healthy weight strategy for Scotland, with support and interventions aimed at improving the diet and health of the nation from birth through to adulthood.”

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