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Scottish government to double funding for breastfeeding

Funding to encourage more mothers in Scotland to breastfeed for longer is to be almost doubled.

The Scottish government has announced an extra £2m investment.

Figures show that over the last year 63% of babies had been breastfed at some point, but the rate dropped to 41% at six weeks.

The cash boost, ahead of World Breastfeeding Week, will go to health boards to tackle problems which see some mothers stop breastfeeding.

An NHS report published last year said breastfeeding rates were low in Scotland when compared with other countries worldwide.

The Scottish government said it is already working to reduce the drop-off rate for breastfeeding by the time babies are six to eight weeks old by 10% by 2025.

The latest figures show 63% of babies born in Scotland in 2016-17 had been breastfed at some point, with 41% still being breastfed at six to eight weeks.

Ministers already provide £2.3m a year to NHS boards to support breastfeeding – with the World Health Organisation saying this gives babies the best nutritional start, and can also improve the long-term health of mothers and their children.

Public Health Minister Joe Fitzpatrick said: “Breastfeeding has many long and short-term health benefits for both the mother and the child but we know that for some mums and babies breastfeeding can be challenging.

“It is vital that mums are well supported throughout their time breastfeeding, especially where they may be experiencing difficulties, and this additional funding will help with some of the common issues they may face early on.

“We are also continuing to invest in activities which will normalise breastfeeding and enable mums to feel more comfortable and supported when breastfeeding in public.”

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BBC News – Health