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Government funding to encourage breastfeeding

An extra �2 million of government money will be invested to encourage mothers to breastfeed.
The government is to invest an extra £2 million to help more English mothers breastfeed, Dawn Primarolo, public health minister, has announced.

Coming during World Breastfeeding Week (August 1st to 7th), the move will be particularly aimed at improving England's breastfeeding rate which is one of the lowest in Europe.

Only 78 per cent of women breastfeed from birth and this falls to 22 per cent when the baby is six months old.

Countries like Norway (99 per cent at birth), Denmark (98 per cent) and Sweden (97.7 per cent) are further ahead, although Germany, France and Ireland all have lower rates than England.

"By international standards not enough women breastfeed in England," said Ms Primarolo.

"This money will help more mums - particularly those in more deprived areas - to breastfeed and to do so for longer.

"We want to ensure women know the importance of breastfeeding and the benefits to themselves and their baby."

The Department of Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby's life, because the milk contains all the necessary nutrients for the baby.

Research has shown that breast milk protects infants from infection and diseases like ear and urine infections, eczema and obesity in later childhood.

It has also been shown to be good for mothers, reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and weak bones later in life.

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