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Eight out of ten babies breastfed

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More babies are being breastfed than a decade ago, according to NHS figures.

Data from the NHS Information Centre shows that eight of ten new babies in the UK were breastfed last year, in comparison to six out of 10 in 1990.

The figures were higher in England than in the rest of the UK, although they showed an upward trend in most areas.

The report covers babies who are initially breastfed - including those who have been put to the breast only once.

More detailed data on the proportion of women who are still breastfeeding six weeks later and when their child is about six months old will be published next year.

The report comes after it emerged the Department of Health in England has axed funding for National Breastfeeding Awareness Week, which runs this week.

Campaigners have also accused ministers of cutting funding for a network of regional infant feeding co-ordinators, who train staff and offer advice on feeding babies.

The Department of Health confirmed it had withdrawn funding for this year’s National Breastfeeding Awareness Week and nine regional infant feeding co-ordinators.

A spokesman said: “The Department recognises the importance of breastfeeding, both for the mother and her baby, and we continue to support breastfeeding through the Healthy Child Programme, as set out in the Public Health White Paper.

“We have made the challenging commitment to an extra 4,200 health visitors by 2015.

“Health visitors will be able to help support women who want to breastfeed but may find it difficult.”


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