Middle-class mums think breast is best

New mothers in the UK are choosing to breastfeed their babies as a new report shows soaring figures

Middle-class mums think breast is best, as new reports show a soaring increase in the number of women in professional roles opting to breastfeed.

More than 90 per cent of mums in well-paid managerial or professional roles breastfeed. This compares to 74 per cent of those in routine or manual jobs, and 71 per cent of women who have never worked.

‘Breastfeeding their baby is something we know is close to many mums’ hearts,’ says Marianne Monie, of support group the Breastfeeding Network.

‘Breastfeeding is not just good for mothers and babies but because breastfed babies are ill less than babies fed infant formula, supporting mothers to breastfeed can also save the NHS money.’

The rise follows years of high profile government ‘breast is best’ campaigns promoting the benefits of breast milk over formula milk.

Studies have shown that breast milk helps to protect new babies from chest and ear infections and stomach bugs. It also helps babies’ brain development and reduces their chance of becoming obese when they age.

Up to 81 per cent of mothers in the UK breastfeed for at least the first six weeks, according to figures from the NHS Information Centre. This figure is up from 76 per cent in 2005, and 62 per cent in 1990.

Research also showed that the numbers of women smoking during pregnancy had fallen significantly in the last five years.

‘The increase in the number of women starting to breastfeed and the reduction in smoking before and during pregnancy is good news for the health of the nation,’ says Jane Munro, from the Royal College of Midwives.

‘These are, however, early findings and do not give us the important information about how long women carry on breastfeeding. This is a crucial issue because we know that many women stop breastfeeding when they leave hospital.’

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