Breastfeeding Insight Gathering

Knowsley Council

Research to establish the reasons behind Knowsley's low rate of breastfeeding

SMG was commissioned by Knowsley Council to gather behavioural insights around breastfeeding and to inform local strategy, and assess reactions to the idea of a Borough-wide Breastfeeding Friendly Pledge scheme for the retail and hospitality sector.

Knowsley has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in England and so the Council is taking part in the Family Hubs Start for Life Programme. Research was needed to inform planning for this programme.

A qualitative research approach was used, comprising secondary research, depth interviews and focus groups.  Some of the findings informed development of a draft breastfeeding pledge which was then taken to retail and hospitality premises across the Borough for formative evaluation.

Altogether, we interviewed professionals and volunteers who engage with women around infant feeding; pregnant women and mothers of babies up to 12 months old (including breastfeeding, formula-feeding, and combination-feeding women); fathers of babies up to 12 months old; grandmothers; and staff/managers at hospitality venues in Knowsley.

The research findings are now being used to inform the next steps in the local breastfeeding strategy and plan. In the short term, this includes development and implementation of a 'breastfeeding friendly' pledge for businesses in the borough. Longer term, findings will support further work to increase the numbers of local women who successfully initiate and sustain breastfeeding.