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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 13:32 GMT
Antenatal link to breastfeeding
Woman breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is becoming more common
Mothers who attend antenatal classes are more likely to breastfeed their children, research has suggested.

An Edinburgh University study found that 75% of mothers who attended all or most of their antenatal classes went on to breastfeed.

That compared with 51% of mothers who did not attend classes.

More than 8,000 Scottish mothers were interviewed for the study, carried out by the university's Centre for Research on Families and Relationships.

This research shows that having access to accurate information is crucial in a mother's decision to breastfeed
Valeria Skafida

Previous research has shown that age and educational background are linked to breastfeeding figures.

This study found 86% of mothers with degrees breastfed their children, compared with 31% of mothers with no qualifications.

It also suggested that antenatal classes tripled the chances of breastfeeding, regardless of these factors.

The data, which covered the period between 2002 and 2005, found that two thirds of mothers in Scotland chose to breastfeed.

Valeria Skafida, the researcher who led the study, said: "This research shows that having access to accurate information is crucial in a mother's decision to breastfeed and that antenatal classes make a big difference in giving children the best start in life.

"More research is needed to understand how take-up can be increased in groups that are under-represented."

Studies have shown that babies who are breast-fed are less likely to be obese in later life and gain protection against conditions like asthma, eczema and chest infections.

Mothers also benefit, with studies showing a protective effect against ovarian and breast cancer.


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