Breast-feeding peer support services are lacking in many UK regions
Peer support is recommended by the World Health Organization for the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding, but in a survey of 136 service managers with jobs related to infant feeding across UK NHS Trust and Health Board areas, breastfeeding peer supporters were available in only 56% of NHS areas.
There was no standardised provision of breastfeeding peer support around the UK, and services were regularly adapted in line with funding available, rather than number of births or perceived need.
"This research highlights that breastfeeding peer support services vary around the UK, meaning that mothers who want to breastfeed receive very different services depending on where they live," said Dr. Aimee Grant, lead author of the Maternal & Child Nutrition study. "We also found that although services wanted to attract mothers from poorer areas, they did not always attract them as service users, which may exacerbate health inequalities."