Online breastfeeding support service

Breastfeeding has enormous advantages for both newborn infants and their mothers.

However, UK breastfeeding rates are low. Around 80% women initiate breastfeeding with only 17% exclusively breastfeeding at three months. This compares badly with 60% women breastfeeding at three months in many EU countries.

Support for breastfeeding is a key to its success, and research from the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health (CMMPH) has provided valuable insights into factors that help mothers continue to breastfeed.

The research has been used to develop the advice and support available on Healthtalkonline. This successful breastfeeding support website is regularly used by around 1,500 mothers every month. The site is an invaluable resource for breastfeeding mothers because it provides easily accessible and round the clock consistent advice from an evidence based trustworthy source. Unlike many evidence based sources, which make dry and sometimes difficult reading, the Healthtalkonline pages present information through real relatable stories.

A recent survey found that users were very positive about the quality and coverage of the information. Nearly all (97.4%) considered the webpages helpful. More importantly though, responses demonstrated changes in users’ behaviour or attitudes: 7.7% of respondents had decided to continue breastfeeding or start breastfeeding after visiting the Healthtalkonline website. In addition, the website is getting an international following with users from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.