Jackie Baillie is keen to promote the benefits of breastfeeding on World Breastfeeding Week after it emerged West Dunbartonshire has some of the lowest rates in Scotland.

Figures revealed to the Dumbarton constituency MSP have shown that, during the financial year 2020/21, just 47.5 percent of babies in the region had ever been breastfed with only Inverclyde and North Lanarkshire recording lower figures. In West Dunbartonshire, this was down from 49.8 percent in 2018/19.

In neighbouring Argyll and Bute 71.5 percent of all babies were breastfed at some point during 2020/21.

In West Dunbartonshire, the figure is lower than the average for the most deprived areas in Scotland which sits at 50.2 percent.

The Dumbarton constituency MSP said: “Although I acknowledge it is not easy for everyone to do, breastfeeding has many benefits for both mum and baby.

“Without having to worry about sterilising and buying expensive bottles and equipment, breast milk is free and ready to go. It is at the optimum temperature for infants and provides the nutrients baby needs.

“In addition to the benefits for the baby, women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

“Sadly, in West Dunbartonshire, the rate is lower than in most other parts of the country and is another example of a health inequality which is evident here compared with more affluent areas.

“I would like to see more done locally to promote breastfeeding and indeed a strategy from the Scottish Government to improve the outcomes for babies in more deprived areas. A whole community approach, including local firms providing safe and welcoming spaces for breastfeeding mums and babies, is required to boost these figures and the health and wellbeing of mothers and their infants.”

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