Presentation Information

Dr. Amy Brown

Breastfeeding as a public health issue: How we need to tackle cultural and societal barriers to protect breastfeeding

  • Speaker: Dr. Amy Brown , PhD
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 75 Mins
  • Credits:

In much of the Western world levels of breastfeeding rates are below public health recommendations with many women stopping breastfeeding before they are ready to do so, leaving them at risk of negative emotions and even postnatal depression. Many cite physical reasons for stopping breastfeeding but the number of women experiencing physical issues incompatible with breastfeeding is vastly out of line with expectations. The majority of women should be able to breastfeed but elements of their experience are ultimately stopping them from doing so. Many of these factors affect breastfeeding through damaging responsive feeding. Breastfeeding works best when done responsively but many psychological, social and cultural factors work directly or more subtly against responsive feeding, meaning that often her milk supply drops and she experiences difficulties. These include separation of mother and baby, a lack of understanding of breast milk production, public attitudes and wider pressures of motherhood to name a few. If we want to support mothers to breastfeed we must understand and target these wider factors to create a supportive breastfeeding environment.