THE Balearic birth rate has risen by 30 percent since the year 2000, with 11'000 births registered last year, compared with the 8'000 registered just two years previously.

This situation has caused the health authorities to promote the benefits of breast feeding more widely. According to the director of the section for the Promotion of Health for Women and Infants, Carmen Sanchez-Contador, only half of all mothers on the islands breast feed their babies, and only a quarter of them breast feed until their baby is six months old. These figures mean that the Balearics is in line with the national average, but the Balearic Government wants to improve this, in compliance with the recommendations from the World Health Organisation. A telephone service has been started to help mothers with breast feeding, which receives some 350 calls per year.

As they leave the maternity ward mothers are also given a guide which gives information and answers to the most frequently asked questions about breast feeding, because “every pregnancy is different”, according to Sanchez.

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