Small Increase in Number of Women Choosing to Breastfeed
THE proportion of Welsh mothers choosing to breastfeed babies has risen over the past decade according to government statistics - as a new study indicated it improved child intelligence and language ability.
The proportion of Welsh mothers saying they are breastfeeding rose from 54% in 2002 to 56% in 2012, with babies of older mothers more likely to be breastfed than those with younger mothers.
The highest breastfeeding rates were seen for babies of women resident in Powys Health Board area (81%), and lowest for those in Aneurin Bevan area (41%).
Helen Rogers, director of the Royal College of Midwives in Wales, said: "The rise in breastfeeding rates is welcome but there is much more still to do. We need to ensure that breastfeeding is sustained well beyond the immediate birth period.
"This is where support for new mothers in the postnatal period is so important and we need to ensure that midwives have the time and resources to support women after the birth."
It came as scientists found that greater duration of breastfeeding, even when it was not exclusive, led to higher intelligence scores at age seven.
Compared with bottle-fed children, seven-year-olds breastfed for the first year of life were likely to score four points higher in a test of verbal IQ. …