Study sets out to identify breastfeeding barriers

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A new study aims to understand young mums’ attitudes to breastfeeding to inform an innovative educational resource.

A group of Loughborough University’s child feeding experts are speaking to young pregnant women aged 20 and under to explore the barriers to breastfeeding and to understand why many women in this group choose not to breastfeed.

UK breastfeeding rates are among the lowest in Western Europe, and figures show younger, less well educated mothers living in deprived areas are particularly unlikely to breastfeed.

This British Academy-funded project will develop and pilot a psychoeducation support resource, in collaboration with parent support service Sure Start, that challenges negative attitudes about breastfeeding and educates mothers before the child is born about the benefits of breastfeeding.

Research associate Dr Katryna Kalawsky from the Centre for Research into Eating Disorders (LUCRED) in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS), said:

“We know from the World Health Organisation that exclusively breastfeeding your baby for six months and longer provides the best health benefits for both mother and child, but many young mothers are reluctant to feed their baby in this way.

“We want to understand what puts them off and to consider how, through education, we can encourage those that are physically able to initiate and sustain breastfeeding for as long as possible.”      

The research team is still recruiting pregnant women aged 14 to 20 to share their opinions on breastfeeding in small group discussions or individually in person or over the phone. Anyone interested in getting involved should contact Katryna Kalawsky on 01509 228 775 or

The Loughborough University research team includes Dr Kalawsky, Dr Emma Haycraft and Dr Gemma Witcomb.



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