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Monday, 15 May, 2000, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Breastfeeding campaign targets men
Breastfeeding Advert
Men are the target of some adverts
Men are being targeted for the first time in a Department of Health poster campaign launched to promote breastfeeding.

The idea is that men will be supportive to their partners when breastfeeding is discussed.

A set of posters featuring black and white photographs of fathers and mothers cradling their babies was unveiled today to mark National Breastfeeding Awareness 2000 Week.

Breastfeeding advert
Breastfeeding is beneficial to babies
The posters are to be distributed to hospitals, maternity units and GPs' surgeries to promote the benefits of breastfeeding.

Launching the posters at a national conference entitled Barriers to Breastfeeding, Public Health Minister Yvette Cooper said young women were more likely to breastfeed if they felt supported by their male partners.

She said: "For a long time we have assumed that breastfeeding has nothing to do with men. We know that the women who are most likely to start breastfeeding say that they have support from male partners."

Lowest in Europe

Breastfeeding rates in the UK are currently among the lowest in Europe and national surveys show that they have increased little in the past 20 years.

In 1980, 65% of mothers breastfed their babies at birth - but this had only improved by 1% to 66% at the last survey in 1995.

And there is much less breastfeeding in poorer areas of the country.

The benefits of breastfeeding are well-documented - a lower risk of gastroenteritis, respiratory, urinary tract and ear infections in babies.

Women who breastfeed are also at lower risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer and hip fractures.

Ms Cooper said the drive to promote breastfeeding was part of the Department of Health's action against health inequalities.

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12 Jul 99 | Health
Breast milk studied for toxins
31 Aug 99 | Health
Cows' milk 'as good as formula'
10 Sep 99 | Health
New fathers get advice
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