About us Blog 'Is Breast Best?' - a missed opportunity? Still available on iPlayer is the documentary 'Is Breast Best'. Here is a punchy popular culture take on breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is sadly incredibly unpopular amongst young families in the UK despite the real benefits for mothers and babies. In ‘Is Breast Best?’ Cherry Healey Investigates’ highlighted a number of the issues around breastfeeding that Best Beginnings has been working to address since the child health charity was founded in 2006; the many teenage mothers who feel like breastfeeding isn’t for them, the embarrassment that many women feel about breastfeeding in public and the challenges of achieving your right to express breastmilk when returning to work are all very real problems which we are pleased to see raised and discussed. If the programme inspires more celebrities and role models to breastfeed and talk about breastfeeding to change perceptions about an issue that can make a real difference to babies’ health that would be fantastic. However, I fear that young people from all walks of life watching the programme would have been so alarmed by the pain experienced by the women featured in the first 20 minutes of the programme that they would have turned off their television and turned off their minds to breastfeeding before the twist in the narrative and the discovery in the final throws of the programme that if you do seek help and get support then breastfeeding can be a pain-free and wonderful experience. As a film-maker who worked as a Producer and Director in the Science Department of the BBC on programmes such as Horizon and Trust me I'm a Doctor for many years, I understand only too well the narrative arc that underpinned last night's programme. But I believe that a compelling story could have been created, featuring Cherry's personal journey of discovery, without needing to imply in the first part of the programme that it is sheer determination and will-power that leads to breastfeeding success rather than early and active support with positioning and attachment your baby at your breast. Support is out there for mothers through the NHS, the National Breastfeeding helpline and through a number of charities, all members of the Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalition, doing excellent work in groups, on the phone and in one-to-one sessions. This help is available antenatally and from day one post-delivery. No one needs to wait days or weeks to access evidence-based support. As a charity committed to reducing inequalities in childhealth Best Beginnings has also played our part in enabling and supporting women to have a positive breastfeeding experience. We have produced a DVD, called ‘From Bump to Breastfeeding following real mothers’ stories to find out how’ which shows mothers from all walks of life, but more younger mothers than older ones, learning how to breastfeed successfully with a real focus on positioning and attachment, the importance of seeking help if you encounter challenges, breastfeeding out and about and returning to work. The independent evaluation of the DVD found it was liked by 99% of women who watched it and that it increased breastfeeding rates amongst women who watched it. Importantly women who left school with no qualifications were the most likely to watch the DVD. "From bump to breastfeeding" is endorsed by 20 organisations including five Royal Colleges and since its launch in 2008 it has gone free to over 1.5 million women in England mostly via their midwife or another healthcare professional. The DVD is no longer available centrally in England for midwives to order for free to give out to mothers. It is perhaps for this reason that none of the women featured in the "is breast best" programme had watched the DVD. However, acute trusts and primary care trusts can still buy the DVD which is included in the new NHS Breastfeeding Care pathway. Now, in these difficult economic times when there is a real risk that the significant health inequalities that exist across the UK will worsen, we need to invest in supporting the next generation of parents to make healthy choices for their babies. But the "Breast is best" message is not enough. Instead we need to give parents the confidence, knowledge and support to have successful breastfeeding experiences. There are many barriers to breastfeeding in the UK and many say it is a dream that ours could become a society where no woman will experience the challenges, pain and guilt that Cherry and some of the mothers she met experienced. At Best Beginnings we are working collaboratively and from the evidence-base to make this dream a reality.