Improving the nutrition of breastfeeding mothers

Available evidence on tackling inequalities suggests the need to improve nutritional outcomes in lower-income groups across the early years, pointing to key areas of intervention including pregnancy, breastfeeding, weaning and diet in early childhood. Therefore, £19 million has been made available over the period 2008-2011 to improve nutrition of women of childbearing age, pregnant women and children under five in disadvantaged areas.

The Scottish Government Chief Executive's Letter (CEL) 36 (2008) sets out to:

  • Increase the uptake of Healthy Start
  • Support delivery of the HEAT target on breastfeeding
  • Invest in specialist nutritional services
  • Support delivery of existing programmes where they meet the general criteria set out in the letter
  • Enable existing training for anyone involved in interventions with the target group to be taken up
  • Focus on tackling health inequalities

Key actions of the CEL 36 include direct support for recipients of Healthy Start vouchers to assist them with lifestyle behaviours including breastfeeding, nutrition during and after pregnancy, cooking skills and general healthy living advice.

Improving Maternal and Infant Nutrition: A framework for Action (Scottish Government 2011)

This is a 10 year framework and action plan to improve nutrition in preconception, during pregnancy and in children up to the age of 3 years. Key actions are identified and assigned to a variety of organisations across the statutory and voluntary sector in Scotland. This guidance forms part of the action plan within this Framework.

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