Your health:


It's not just vanity, is it? I mean, the reason why so many new mums don't keep up the breast-feeding.

It's the hard work too, and it can be uncomfortable. It's like Lynette said in the new series of Desperate Housewives - "which one of you has the breasts?"

Women are told they should keep breast-feeding for six months. That means for that period only you can feed the baby. Your loving partner may take paternity leave - but they still get to lie in bed while you get up and keep  little darling quiet.

A new report says breast-feeding comes with experience in the United Kingdom. By the time of your third baby, you are more likely to stay at it for the full six months. (Link to full details here)

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), just 21 per cent of babies in Britain get breast-fed for the full six months. It's one of the lowest rates in the world. And in fact the average baby gets breast-fed for little more than a month.

You might think Britain does better than France, the home of chic. Wrong! In France the average baby is breast-fed for three months (we checked with WHO).

Maybe Britain just goes about it wrong. That was one of the conclusions from this week's report. In hospital your midwife and everyone else will tell you to breast-feed. One month later who's around to tell you to keep on going, night and day?

Then there's the question of what you do when you're out and about. Even if you have the nerve to reveal yourself in a public place, there's always the risk of some Jobsworth deciding you should not do it in just that spot - making the whole thing even more stomach-curdling. Much easier to resort to the bottle to keep baby quiet.

It isn't just fear of sagging boobs, is it? It's mighty hard work - which needs you need good reasons to keep going. Such as that the baby will do a lot better as a result - and so will you. It's a good example of when it's not good enough simply to tell women they have to breast-feed. Let's have the evidence - and lots of it to make the whole thing worthwhile!

Here's a useful  link to the National Childbirth Trust's pages on feeding the baby.

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