According to a new survey conducted in the U.K., breastfeeding has grown by almost a third in the past five years. It looks like the message 'Breast is Best'is influencing new moms here.
Scientific studies have shown breastfeeding is much more beneficial for babies instead of formula milk. One of the many advantages of breastfeeding is the transmission of the mother's immunities aiding brain development.
AdvertisementResearchers said that it is influencing parental decision-making in a positive way. However, they said better support, consistent advice in the early days after giving birth and a change in attitude to breastfeeding in public is still required to keep numbers rising.
Two-thirds of mothers in the survey said they breastfed their baby in the first year, either solely or partly. 92 per cent reasoned it was because breast milk was the healthiest option for the baby. Almost a half said they found it the easiest option and a quarter said it was "cheapest". A further 23 per cent said they breastfed to help get their body back into shape.
The 2,079 women survey also revealed that most fathers are happy to take on the responsibility of looking after their children. A mere 10 per cent of new mothers claimed their partners were never interested in feeding their baby, compared with 50 per cent in the 1970s.
And almost half of mothers nowadays said their partner was very involved when it came to duties such as changing nappies.
Also becoming popular is the trend of combining breast and bottle feeding.
"It is an interesting social trend that combining breast and bottle feeding is increasingly popular as today's mums opt for greater flexibility," the Daily Mail quoted Vicki Scott, of babycare company Philips Avent, which carried out the survey, as saying.
"Expressing allows mothers to leave a bottle of their breast milk when they are not there to breastfeed. And with today's dads being more supportive and more prepared to be involved than ever before, expressing also helps partners to take an active role in feeding early on.
"I believe that anything that encourages women to breastfeed is a good thing for mother and baby and expressing or combination feeding help women to breastfeed for longer."
The findings were welcomed by Dr Geoff Lawson, a paediatrician at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
"Among the benefits are immunity, optimal brain development and optimal growth. Not to mention the social benefits of bonding between mother and baby," he said.
"No one ever says breast feeding is easy but it so very, very worthwhile because of the huge number of proven benefits."
The survey also brought out a nearly two thirds dramatic decline over the past ten years in the number of mothers returning to work within three months. The number of women taking a year off has more than doubled over the same period.