WBTi report launch, Westminster, 15 November 2015, 19:30

World Breastfeeding Trends initiative report shows how UK governments can help empower mothers to breastfeed for as long as they wish –  

Report scores countries on action taken to date

Media coverage: Daily Mail.

wbtiuk16webThree out of five (63%) of UK mothers who had stopped breastfeeding by 6-8 months said they wanted to breastfeed for longer. The UK has the lowest breastfeeding rate at 12 months in the world and only 1% of babies are exclusively breastfed at 6 months. The action required by policy makers to help empower mothers to breastfeed for as long as they wish is set out in the WBTi UK report launched on 15 November.

Hard copies of the report (left)are available in the Virtual Shop.

Download the pdf and additional material from the WBTI-UK website.


Key recommendations in the WBTi report on the UK.

  • UK government:
    • Enact the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant WHA Resolutions in UK law
    • Ensure mothers have a right to continue breastfeeding on return to work
    • Develop guidance on infant feeding in emergencies
    • Coordinate communication between the four nations
  • National assembly’s:
    • Set up national infant feeding strategy & coordination (England and Wales)
    • Improve data collection (England, Wales)
    • Require all maternity and community settings to meet Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative standards (as per NICE guidance; England, Wales) o Increase community infant feeding support (England)
  • Local authorities:
    • Commission joined up range of support in the community including health visiting service, peer support, and access to a breastfeeding specialist for complex cases in line with NICE guidance
    • Provide for mothers and infants in all emergency planning
  • GMC, NMC and other health professional bodies:
    • Set detailed minimum training standards on infant feeding for doctors, nurses and dieticians, based on Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative curriculum o Do not approve CPD from commercially sponsored education

The score cards associated with the WBTi report show that Scotland and Northern Ireland have done most in introducing polices and programmes to empower mothers in a bid to improve on low breastfeeding rates. Thanks to recent action they have scores of 102.5/150 and 102/150, respectively. England and Wales, where mothers also cite lack of support and breastfeeding falls off rapidly, have more to do, scoring 80.5/150 and 88/150, respectively.

Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at Baby Milk Action, said:

“Governments have claimed they could not implement World Health Assembly formula marketing requirements due to the European Union having weaker measures. With Brexit that is no longer an excuse. As this excellent report shows, implementing the marketing requirements will fill one of the policy gaps. All mothers have a right to accurate information. Appropriate marketing of breastmilk substitutes protects breastfeeding and protects babies fed on formula.”

The assessment will be repeated in three years’ time to monitor progress.

The WBTi UK Core Group consists of 18 organisations, including government agencies, health professional bodies and voluntary groups, which have gathered and assessed data in key areas.

For other quotes see: https://ukbreastfeeding.org/press-release-wbti-uk-2016/

Statements responding to the report from:

 For further information from Baby Milk Action contact:

Mike Brady or

Patti Rundall on 07786 523493.


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