Key Findings (July 2014)

  • In 2012/13, 57% of mothers in Wirral started breastfeeding at birth. By 6-8 weeks breastfeeding had reduced to just 31%

  • Over recent years the local breastfeeding rates have not reflected the increase that’s been seen nationally, resulting in a widening disparity between Wirral and the rest of England

  • Within Wirral the breastfeeding rates follow the pattern of deprivation, with the more deprived eastern wards having significantly lower levels of breastfeeding

  • The lowest breastfeeding rates are amongst young, white mothers from deprived areas

  • Insight work highlighted the need for more practical and honest information about breastfeeding to be given to mothers in the antenatal period

  • It also identified the importance of the first few breastfeeds in the maintenance of breastfeeding, with some women wanting intensive 1:1 support during this time

  • Women who stopped breastfeeding reported feelings of guilt and anxiety associated with stopping and some felt they had a lack of information to allow them to bottle feed safely

  • Locally, there are a large number of breastfeeding services and initiatives made available to parents. Wirral spends more per birth than the national average and yet has poorer outcomes in terms of breastfeeding initiation

  • The evidence base is far from conclusive as to which interventions are likely to be most effective, however some studies advocate taking a targeted, needs-led approach to breastfeeding support as oppose to providing more generic services

Breastfeeding Health Needs Assessment - July 2014