Availability of breastfeeding peer-support in the UK: a cross-sectional survey

Aimee Grant* (Corresponding Author), Kirsten McEwen, Sally Tedstone, Giles Greene, Lauren Copeland, Billie Hunter, Julia Sanders, Rhiannon Phillips, Amy Brown, Michael Robling, Shantini Paranjothy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Peer-support is recommended by the World Health Organisation for the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding, and this recommendation is included in UK guidance. There is a lack of information about how, when and where breastfeeding peer-support is provided in the UK. We aimed to generate an overview of how peer-support is delivered in the UK and to gain an understanding of challenges for implementation. We surveyed all UK Infant Feeding Coordinators (n=696) who were part of UK based national Infant Feeding Networks, covering 177 NHS organisations. We received 136 responses (individual response rate 19.5%), covering 102 UK NHS organisations (organisational response rate 58%). We also searched NHS organisation websites to obtain data on the presence of breastfeeding peer-support. Breastfeeding peer-support was available in 56% of areas. However, coverage within areas was variable. The provision of training and ongoing supervision, and peer-supporter roles, varied significantly between services. Around one third of respondents felt that breastfeeding peer-support services were not well integrated with NHS health services. Financial issues were commonly reported to have a negative impact on service provision. One quarter of respondents stated that breastfeeding peer-support was not accessed by mothers from poorer social backgrounds. Overall, there was marked variation in the provision of peer-support services for breastfeeding in the UK. A more robust evidence-base is urgently needed to inform guidance on the structure and provision of breastfeeding peer-support services.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12476
JournalMaternal and Child Nutrition
Volume14
Issue number1
Early online date7 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

Keywords

  • breastfeeding
  • breastfeeding support
  • breastfeeding training
  • health professional
  • infant feeding
  • survey methods

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    Grant, A., McEwen, K., Tedstone, S., Greene, G., Copeland, L., Hunter, B., Sanders, J., Phillips, R., Brown, A., Robling, M., & Paranjothy, S. (2018). Availability of breastfeeding peer-support in the UK: a cross-sectional survey. Maternal and Child Nutrition, 14(1), [12476]. https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12476