More and more Flemish mothers opt for breastfeeding

More and more Flemish mothers are opting to breastfeed their babies during the first 24 hours, according to new figures from the childcare agency Growing Up. In 2022, over 82 per cent of newly delivered women in Flanders chose to breastfeed their babies.

This figure has been on an upward trend for years. In 2021, 81.6 per cent of mothers chose to breastfeed their newborns, while in 2014 just 76 per cent started breastfeeding.

Growing Up is pleased with this increase, says spokesperson Niels Heselmans, who calls the first 24 hours in a child's life "crucial". "That first breast milk contains a lot of proteins, vitamins and minerals and is bursting with substances that protect your child against infections and stimulate its immune system," he explains.

Breastfeeding does decline in popularity as babies get older. By day six, only 77.1 per cent are still fully or supplementary breastfed. When women return to work, three to six months after birth, that number drops to 35 per cent.

Breastfeeding and working is not a simple combination, but pumping can offer a solution. The agency is now launching a campaign asking mothers to share their pumping stories on social media, to help early mothers with the transition to working life.


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