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Students as young as 11 could soon have lessons in breastfeeding to make it more widespread and accepted.

Leading doctors say the move is needed because only 0.5 per cent of British women are still breastfeeding after one year – the lowest rate in the world.

Girls – and boys – would be taught the basics in sex and relationship classes at secondary school, reports Daily Mail. 

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which made the recommendation, said many women were too embarrassed to breastfeed in cafes or public places and worry they might be judged by other mothers for doing it wrong.

It believes that educating girls and boys about breastfeeding from an early age will help ‘normalise’ the practice and remove any potential stigma.

‘Regrettably, the attitudes of a large part of society mean breastfeeding is not always encouraged,’ said Professor Neena Modi, who is president of the royal college.

‘Support is patchy, advice is not always consistent and often overly dogmatic, support at work not always conducive to continued breastfeeding and, perhaps most worryingly, breastfeeding in public is often stigmatised.’

Viv Bennett, the chief nurse at Public Health England, said: ‘We can all help women wherever they are. Creating a wider culture of encouragement and support will help make a mother’s experience all the more positive.’

The royal college said that the Government should ‘ensure familiarity with breastfeeding is included as part of statutory personal, health and social education in schools’.

Taught at secondary level from the age of 11, these PSHE lessons include sex education and sessions on relationships, bullying and human rights.

Do you think this is something we should be teaching from a young age?

Share your comments below

  • I think all things to do with having a baby should be taught in school. How to avoid unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases too.

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  • I understand the reasoning, but I think 11 is too young! In my opinion the education needs to be from the top down — I believe the way it’s going to be normalised for children is by adults setting an example and normalising it in every day life! If Mums are worried about doing it wrong, getting it right or being criticised for their efforts, perhaps hospitals can run some classes or workshops in the maternity ward for Mums to learn? I know I would have appreciated that when I was a new Mumma!

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  • i can understand what they are trying to achieve here but i think that the age is really too young i reckon. Wait until they are older and can fully understand it better

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  • too early in my opinion

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  • I have to agree with you that 11 y.o. is too young to teach some sex related subjects. Imagine the despair and disgust reaction when a 5 y.o. girl went home from a SA Public School having had sex education at school. The details were fairly graphic too. One pupil is now 34 years old. I personally know both parents and the pupil. A group of parents descended on the school and asked for meetings with the Principal and the teacher involved.

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  • What are parents for? Shouldn’t they be teaching this sort of thing to their daughters?
    There is too much put on school teachers as it is.

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  • Not a supporter here. Kids have enough to learn in school. What will they miss to do this.

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  • A good idea but I suspect it wouldn’t change attitudes to breast feeding. I really believe that kids tend to grow up and do what they’ve seen in their family, extended family and friends. If they all bottle feed, it is a culture of bottle feeding. If they all breast feed, it is a culture of breast feeding. I think they would be better off putting resources into educating the general public and providing more hands on support to mothers in hospitals and health care clinics to support them if they choose to breast feed.

    Reply

  • There should be more support and education for women who want to breastfeed.

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  • I remember when doing sex-ed at school a lady came along and show us how to breast feed! The boys were grossed out, some of the girls were too but I loved it and found it really natural.

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  • Quite ridiculous & totally unnecessary. It would just take time away from the 3 Rs.
    The kids themselves wouldn’t take it seriously & let’s face it most of them are ultimately influenced by what they see their mothers & aunts doing.
    Sure a brief mention of the benefits of breast-feeding over bottle should be included but more information is INAPPROPRIATE at this age.

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  • I don’t think kds of that age would really pay much attention.

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  • Not from a child’s age of eleven, that’s a bit too soon.

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  • I don’t know that it needs to be taught in schools. It should be part of a family’s education process when there are children/babies in their family/extended family. We can’t expect school to teach our children everything. So much of parenting is now being pushed onto an already stretched education system.

    Reply

  • I think this is a fabulous idea! I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I started breastfeeding my daughter and perhaps if kids start learning and see it as an accepted practice, they may be more open to the idea of breastfeeding if it’s possible for them to do so and not to give up too easily when they discover how hard it can be.
    I encouraged my daughter to watch me when I was breastfeeding my son and she would often get her dolly out and copy what I was doing. There is certainly no harm in it, it’s natural.

    Reply

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