More new mums in Tower Hamlets get to grips with breast feeding

The number of mums breast-feeding in London’s East End has doubled in the past five years, according to latest NHS figures.

The details have come to light as staff at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel prepare for their annual ‘breast-feeding awareness’ week on the maternity wards.

Research shows more than half of new mothers in Tower Hamlets exclusively breast-fed in the past 12 months, compared to one-in-four in 2005-06.

“Breast-feeding helps a baby’s development—but can be challenging for new mums,” said midwife Joy Hastings, the hospital’s ‘breastfeed project’ coordinator. “At least 2,000 need support every year from midwives to help them learn.”

But it’s not always easy. New mum Xiaojing Zhang was determined her nine-day-old son got to grips with breast-feeding, after initially failing to get enough feed.


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“He kept falling asleep,” Xiaojing said. “He even lost a bit of weight.

“But the Royal London team showed me what to do—now he is feeding regularly and gaining weight.”

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Unicef and the World Health Organisation awards ‘benchmarks’ to hospitals for high standards of care for pregnant women and breast-feeding mums and babies.

The Royal London, with 4,000 births every year, aims to be fully accredited by the end of the year and be London’s first ‘baby friendly’ hospital.

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