After giving birth to a baby boy on Monday, interest in whether Kate will breastfeed or not has risen.
The rate of breastfeeding in the UK has dropped. In The Telegraph, Beverley Turner pointed out that “celebrity is depressingly powerful in dictating trends”.
She urged Kate to breastfeed, saying: “What we really need is the duchess of Cambridge to get her royal orbs out to feed our future monarch. And to be applauded – not seethed at – for doing so.”
The falling rates of breastfeeding have largely been blamed on lack of post-natal support. According to statistics from the Department of Health, 5,700 fewer mothers initiated breastfeeding with their child in 2012-2013 than the year before. It is the first recorded fall since the department started recording these statistics in 2004.
It also found that, of those mothers who did initiate it, a significant number stop by the time babies have their six or eight week check-up.
While most mothers are aware of the benefits of breastfeeding – it reduces a child’s risk of infection, obesity, allergies, asthma, and more – Louise Silverton, the Royal College of Midwives’ directory of midwifery wrote in the Guardian that she blamed lack of government initiatives and a shortage of midwives to help women with breastfeeding: “There is now a lack of health promotion about breastfeeding.
“In England, there is a shortage of 5,000 midwives and a dearth of midwives promoting breastfeeding in the community, as postnatal care is being cut. Women need more face-to-face time with midwives after giving birth.
“Areas with high breastfeeding initiation and continuation rates tend to have strong Sure Start Centres, breastfeeding drop-in clinics, good peer support and community midwifery networks, where the midwife is the first point of contact for the mother and where there are good role models.”
And a good role model is exactly what Beverley Turner hopes the Duchess of Cambridge will be. We already know she hasn’t employed a full-time nanny but, says journalist Penny Junor, “Privacy is Catherine’s middle name.
“My guess is she will breastfeed, but I’d be very surprised if she discussed it too far and wide unless she thought there was a very good reason.”
Kate is also said to be part of a parenting group set up by Marina Fogle, Ben Fogle’s wife, which advocates breastfeeding.