Friday, 9 October 2009

Can swine influenza really increase breastfeeding rates?

Breastfeeding symbol

I've been volunteering as a breastfeeding helper in Rugby for over a year now and found that breastfeeders are a minority. 

This became apparent when I manned a stall at a children's centre during National Breastfeeding Awareness Week in May. I stood on my own for a long while despite having brochures, freebies and lots of breastfeeding material. I soon got bored and cruised the room to talk to mums who were attending a busy play session. Some looked at my badge and looked sheepish when they admitted they were bottlefeeding, others were keen to get information on weaning, teething and mixed feeding - hot topics at the cafe as some mums turn up with older babies or keep coming after the first months.

Chatting with the coordinator today, I found out that the number of breastfeeding mothers is going up since the advent of swine flu. Mothers who didn’t intend to breastfeed are worried about the threat and are giving breastfeeding a go. 

The topic was covered in the latest BfN’s newsletter. For those of you who cannot be bothered to read lengthy articles, here's the feature in a nutshell: ‘Breastfeeding may not prevent babies catching flu, however, in the current absence of a vaccine, best available research suggests that exclusive breastfeeding is the most important thing you can do to help reduce the risk of your baby suffering from associated complications such as pneumonia and chest infections.'

Resources: the Department of Health offers a factsheet on Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Swine Flu at
Read the NCT's comprehensive guide for mums-to-be and parents at
If you are breastfeeding and getting treated for swine flu, visit

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for bringing up this topic, it's indeed a question that most of us want an answer for!

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