Research type 
Desk research
Year of report 

Summary of findings



  • Breastfeeding was recognised by almost all as ‘best for babies’, but the perceived costs outweighed the benefits for many.
  • The two key periods to target mums and their choice of feeding were prior to the birth (20 weeks+) and in the 1-2 days immediately following the birth.
  • Those attending ante natal classes had been influenced by what they had seen. Dads were more influential in mum’s choice of feeding than grandparents.
  • Current awareness of breastfeeding campaigns and services was low. The ‘Be a Star’ campaign was received positively due to the attention grabbing visuals, and seen as well designed to cut through other publicity.
  • The suggested interventions with the greatest appeal were face to face interventions.
  • Triggers to bottle feeding were in part a push away from breastfeeding, which was seen as more demanding and less convenient.
  • To ensure campaign effectiveness it is important to minimise barriers to breastfeeding and maximise incentives.


Preparing Mums ante-natally

  • Mums need support and information to ensure they breastfeed successfully.
  • Accordingly, the research recommends:
  1. That mums are provided with a Be a Star pregnancy booklet which will motivate them into thinking about breastfeeding.
  2. Using real-life experiences of mums to reinforce that BF is not easy, but it is worth it.
  3. Extensive media relations to allow the issue to be highlighted to the community as a whole.
  4. Pregnant women to be invited to attend a BF support group to speak to real-life mums.

Creating community acceptance

  • A breastfeeding friendly scheme to increase breastfeeding friendly environments for mums will ensure public acceptability of breastfeeding as the norm.
  1. In support of this a Be a Star community pack will introduce retailers to the scheme.
  2. Reinforce the campaign message to mums that ‘breastfeeding is for people like you.’
  3. Material for schools / primary schools.
  4. Using the Stars to act as ambassadors and go into schools.

Supporting Health Professionals

  • An outcome for NHS Rotherham is to ensure all staff working with pregnant and / or new mums are trained to be able to effectively support mothers.
  1. An internal campaign ‘Create a Star’ could be introduced prior to launching Be a Star – aimed a ‘frontline staff’.

Support at home / post-birth

  • Providing 24 hour support when needed is crucial to ensure women maintain breastfeeding once they initiate.
  • The blog, national helpline and SMS service will support mums once they are home.
  • An information leaflet is provided to mums at the first health visit, listing helpful numbers and local groups.

Research objectives


The key objective of this research was to ascertain levels of knowledge and attitudes towards breastfeeding before campaign intervention with a particular focus on understanding barriers to breastfeeding and appropriateness of existing support.

Specifically the research was designed to:

  • Develop a greater understanding of the feeding ‘decision journey’– when choices are made and why
  • Understand the effect of influencers on the feeding decision and influences on feeding choices
  • Understand the triggers to bottle feed / barriers to breastfeed
  • Explore attitudes and perceptions to bottle feeding
  • Explore attitudes and perceptions to breastfeeding
  • Evaluate awareness and usage of breastfeeding support services in Rotherham
  • Explore levels of awareness of national breastfeeding campaigns
  • Undertake pre-testing of the Be A Star campaign – message, visuals and textual detail
  • Evaluate appeal and perceived effectiveness / usefulness of intervention ideas



NHS Rotherham has outlined a commitment to increase breastfeeding in line with regional and national averages and achieve the Vital Sign targets set by the Department of Health from initiation through to 6-8 wks. Rotherham has historically struggled to increase breastfeeding and their performance has placed them within the lower half of the regions results.

Research was required to develop a Breastfeeding campaign that aims to normalise breastfeeding amongst the lowest initiators of breastfeeding.

Quick summary


Research was required to develop a breastfeeding campaign, aimed the lowest initiators of breastfeeding, in order to support NHS Rotherham’s commitment to increase breastfeeding in line with regional and national averages.

Audience Summary





Not specified



‘19 and under’ (age not specified) to 30

Social Class


Not directly specified, but SOG DE is inferred



  1. Analysis of baseline data
  2. Qualitative research:
  • 1x focus group with teen mum at the Rowan Centre, Rotherham (7 mums)
  • 8x face to face depth intercept interviews in Mothercare, Rotherham (4 mums, 2 mums-to-be, 1 grandparent, 1 partner)
  • 10x telephone depth interviews (2 mums, 3 mums-to-be, 3 partners, 2 grandparents)
  • The above included mums to be, new mums, grandparents and partners.
  • A mix of those who planned to bottle feed and breast fed were included. Just less than half planned to breast feed but ended up bottle feeding.

Quantitative research:

  • Self-completion questionnaires distributed by NHS Rotherham to breastfeeding venues and Children’s centres. (There were only 24 returns, of which only 18 were retained as being from the target age of <25).

Data collection methodology

Depth interviews
Textual/documentary analysis

Other data collection methodology


Self-completion questionnaires.

Sample size


Qualitative research: 25 respondents

Quantitative research: 18 respondents

Detailed region



Fieldwork dates


Not specified

Agree to publish



Research agency

The Hub