END BREASTFEEDING STIGMA

SNP MP Alison Thewliss is calling on the commitments from World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) – which finished on Sunday- to continue, and for MPs to join the campaign to raise awareness and end the stigma surrounding breast feeding in public.
 
A key objective of WBW has also been informing people of the role breastfeeding can play in sustainable development, as well as the wider health benefits.
 
Alison Thewliss, Chair of Westminster’s APPG on Infant Feeding & Inequalities, commented:
 
“World Breastfeeding week has been an important initiative to help raise awareness of all the benefits that breastfeeding can bring. I chair the all-party group at Westminster which I established on infant feeding and inequalities, and parliamentarians can and should play a much bigger role in raising awareness of those benefits.
 
“There are still too many MPs at Westminster who subscribe to the view that breastfeeding in public – for example – is ‘voyeuristic’ as a senior Democratic Unionist MP from Northern Ireland described it on the radio recently. I would invite him and any other MPs who feel like that to come to our APPG to get a better understanding of the issue.
 
“Evidence, including from the recent Lancet series, tells us that breastfed infants are likely to have a reduced risk of infection, particularly those affecting the ear, respiratory tract and gastro-intestinal tract. This protective effect is particularly marked in low birth weight infants.
 
“Other probable benefits include improved cognitive and psychological development, and a reduced risk of childhood obesity. There is also evidence that women who breastfed have lower risks of breast cancer, epithelial ovarian cancer and hip fracture later in life.
 
 
Local MP, Martin Docherty-Hughes added:
 
“We should take all the energy and commitment from World Breastfeeding week and ensure that the momentum continues. We can make progress in removing the stigma around breastfeeding and those outdated and negative views that we still hear too much of at Westminster.
 
“But equally, it’s important to remember that not all women are able to breastfeed and the increased publicity around this time of year can be difficult for mothers in this situation.
 
“Campaigns such as this are important in ending the stigma but we mustn’t find ourselves judging people who perhaps would like to breastfeed their child but are unable to. This is about ending the social stigma and making it easier for women look after their children in the best way possible without being judged by others.”