Update on the first World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative in the UK March 2016


The steering group of the WBTI UK Working Group consists of: Helen Gray, Clare Meynell, Ayala Ochert, Alison Spiro and Patricia Wise, Jill Dye and others. Over the last few months there has been much hard work going on quietly behind the scenes. Information has been collected and submitted by UK organisations, including the NHS, Public Health bodies and Royal Colleges, in fact all who have any contact with mothers and babies through the length and breadth of their breastfeeding journey. With the help of many other supportive people the WBTi report progress has been a positive discovery. The full list of participating organisations is here.

The WBTI team gave a presentation at the House of Commons at the first meeting to organise the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infant Feeding and Inequalities in early January, chaired by Alison Thewliss MP for Glasgow. The APPG was formally launched shortly thereafter; Ms Thewliss’ office will serve as the secretariat and have given assurances that the APPG will not accept any funding from the baby feeding industry. The next meeting is in mid March.

The Lancet series on Breastfeeding was published at the end of January. It has been long awaited and echoed so much of what has been known by the breastfeeding community for some time.

Scientists at the World Health Organisation agreed that:

“Breastmilk is exquisitely tailored medicine. It’s not the fault of individual women that continuation is a struggle. They need support all the way along. It’s society’s responsibility.”

The WBTi team wrote an ‘Open Letter’ in response, in collaboration with many of the organisations, Royal Colleges, health professional bodies, researchers and individuals working in the field of breastfeeding. All were invited to sign. The Baby Friendly Initiative supported the Open letter with links on their website and publicised it through social media. A letter to the Guardian followed, signed by the WBTi team and the chairs of the key breastfeeding organisations, including LCGB.

You can see the Open letter, press release and list of supporting organisations published on the 9th Feb.

The draft report is now entering the final stages but is large and detailed. The next step is to engage the Core Group to reduce the long list of recommendations into a manageable and achievable list Each individual Indicator team developed a list of Gaps and Recommendations and provided background information and references supporting those Gaps and Recommendations. The top priorities will be chosen for the final report card and the supporting information will appear as annexures.

The current time line is to present the full report and snapshot card in mid summer 2016, subject to funding being available.