Department of Health written question – answered on 25th May 2016.

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Photo of Flick Drummond Flick Drummond Conservative, Portsmouth South

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps the Government is taking to support breastfeeding services; and what assessment he has made of the importance of breastfeeding to national health policy.

Photo of Ben Gummer Ben Gummer The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Support and information about breastfeeding is currently available to health professionals and parents through: the NHS Choices website under the Start4Life banner; the National Breastfeeding Helpline; UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative; and local peer support programmes.

Parents-to-be and new mums and dads can also sign up to the Start4life Information Service for Parents. Subscribers receive regular free emails, videos and SMS messages offering high quality advice and information, based on the stage of pregnancy and the age of the child, including breastfeeding support. The service also signposts parents to other quality assured information about parenting, relationship support and benefits advice.

Breastfeeding delivers significant health benefits both for the mother and her baby and is more cost effective for mothers than other methods of infant feeding. A mother’s milk provides a perfect balance of nutrients and vitamins, so exclusive breastfeeding is all a baby needs for around the first six months. This is why the Department in line with the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence guidelines encourages exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.

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