Somerset Infant Feeding and Nutrition Strategy 2017 – 2019

Breastfeeding is a key Public Health priority for Somerset County Council. The aim of this strategy is to increase the number of women breastfeeding across the county, and support women who breastfeed to do so for longer.
Breastfeeding undoubtedly offers health benefits to babies at the earliest point in life. There are some mothers that are unable to, or decide not to breastfeed for a number of reasons that are explored further in this strategy. However, regardless of feeding choices, it is important that all mothers and families know how to feed safely and maximise opportunities to develop a close and loving relationship with their baby.
It is important that women in Somerset receive advice and support from health services, and encouragement from peers. The more people protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding, the greater the impact will be to improve the perceived cultural norm of infant feeding.
Somerset County Council would like to support all babies to have the best start in life. Research tells us that a close and loving relationship between baby and parent are fundamentally associated with feeding practices so it is important to ensure families have the right information and support at the right time. This strategy aims to support everyone in Somerset to make informed choices about infant feeding and the continuation of breastfeeding.

Table of contents:

Introduction
Significant health benefits associated with breastfeeding
What can influences feeding choices
Breastfeeding policy
Breastfeeding initiation and prevalence rates
The impact of deprivation on breastfeeding rates
The evidence supporting Somerset’s objectives
Monitoring and reporting
Glossary, references and appendicies