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Mother and baby diet booster in Yorks

Jayne Howarth
A million pound programme aimed at encouraging improved nutrition for mothers and infants is being launched in Yorkshire.

Led by the University of York’s Mother and Infant Research Unit (MIRU), based in the University’s Department of Health Sciences, the main focus will be on supporting women who want to breastfeed.

The scheme has funding from Government, charities and the NHS, and will support a range of research, policy, innovation and education projects - including a new educational framework to be offered to hundreds of NHS staff and others who work with new mothers and babies.

It will publish a blueprint for promoting breastfeeding and attachment in neonatal units, while neonatal units across Yorkshire will be supported in developing practice to better support and enable women to breastfeed.

Professor Mary Renfrew, director of MIRU, said: “It is important that women have the best possible help to breastfeed, especially if their baby is small or sick. This work will help us to improve support for pregnant and childbearing women, and also to find the best ways of improving nutrition for women themselves.”

Other research projects include looking at the economic benefits of breastfeeding, examining the cost to the UK health service of illnesses related to formula feeding versus breastfeeding.

Researchers will also evaluate the welfare food scheme, Healthy Start, which distributes vouchers for fresh fruit and vegetables to low-income families in England.

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