FAMILIES, health professionals and a community group are coming together to share how to create a 'breastfeeding-friendly culture' in Oxfordshire.

To mark Breastfeeding Celebration Week, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will be hosting a display in the atrium of Oxford Children’s Hospital from today until Friday.

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The trust has arranged for staff and volunteers to be on hand throughout the week to talk about the importance of human milk, and provide information on the support available to parents who want to breastfeed.


More than 60 per cent of mothers in Oxfordshire breastfeed for six to eight weeks after giving birth, which is above the national average of 46 per cent.

However, 81 per cent of women having their babies at the trust start breastfeeding, meaning that more than a quarter stop in the first two months.

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Paediatrician Dr Ilana Levene, who is coordinating the breastfeeding celebration activities, said: “Many mums start out breastfeeding their newborn babies but for a number of reasons, which could include lack of support, difficulty latching the baby to the breast and sometimes feeling awkward about breastfeeding in public, many stop earlier than they really wanted to.”


Dr Ilana Levene

She added: “Whatever feeding choice a mother makes, we are on hand to offer support and welcome anyone to come along to the Children’s Hospital to have a chat with us or read the available material throughout the week.”

Some of the Oxfordshire Breastfeeding Support (OBS) team will also be on the stand in the Children’s Hospital during the week. Created in 2006, the groups runs four drop-in sessions each week.


Oxfordshire Breastfeeding Support relaunch in 2018. Picture: Ed Nix

Jayne Joyce from OBS said: “They say it takes a village to raise a child, and it certainly takes a community to support breastfeeding.

“People used to learn from childhood how to feed and care for babies by watching their own mum, aunts, sisters, neighbours etc, and helping look after their babies.

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"Now, many new parents don’t have much previous experience of babies, or any family close by, and even if they do, they might not know how breastfeed, since breastfeeding rates were at their lowest ever in the UK a generation ago.”

Visit oxbreastfeedingsupport.org for more information.