Swansea University

Tackling the UK’s low breastfeeding rate

Amy Brown, Professor of Child Public Health at Swansea University, is conducting research to find out why the UK has the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world.

Rather than focussing on simply encouraging mothers to breastfeed, Amy explores social, cultural and political barriers to breastfeeding and works with people in public health to create an environment that supports breastfeeding. Her research has shown that breastfeeding works best when a baby’s needs for frequent feeds and night-time care are met, but she found that many people were telling mothers that responding to their baby was wrong.

Amy worked with more than 30,000 mothers, collecting data on what normal baby behaviour looks like and the damage strict baby care routines can have, both for breastfeeding and maternal wellbeing. She then launched a public engagement campaign, Breastfeeding Uncovered, using digital animations, blogging, social media, books and talks to raise awareness of what is normal and how breastfeeding mothers can best be supported. The campaign targeted not only mothers but also partners, family members, professionals and policy makers.

Amy’s work is used globally by the World Health Organisation, health boards, and breastfeeding organisations to support parent, practitioner and public education.

 

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