COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Childbirth trust tackles taboo of breastfeeding

Simon Ellery

The National Childbirth Trust has launched its first press advertising campaign in a bid to overturn negative attitudes towards breastfeeding.

In a radical departure from its usual campaign work, the charity ran adverts targeting young people in The Sun, the Daily Mirror, The Times and The Guardian.

The advert was timed to coincide with Breastfeeding Awareness Week, which runs until this weekend, and is an attempt to challenge the assumptions of young people about breastfeeding. The move follows research that found young men in particular can be negative towards the method of feeding.

A recent study of 400 teenagers found that more than half reported that they would be embarrassed to see a woman breastfeed in front of them.

Furthermore, teenage boys were less likely than girls to hold positive attitudes to breastfeeding in public places.

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the charity, said: "We know that nine out of 10 women who stop breastfeeding in the first weeks are stopping before they want to. Lack of good information and support is often a major contributory factor.

"We want to make them sit up and listen. Their attitude can have an enormous impact."

The trust believes that lack of support and information could be contributing to the UK having one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe.

The charity has produced practical ways that people can support breastfeeding women. Its tips include smiling and making eye contact with the mother, act normally, don't be embarrassed and be tactful.

Other activities organised by the charity will see its 400-plus branches organise breastfeeding drop-ins and coffee shops.

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