Health experts have united to call for a culture change in attitudes to breastfeeding in Scotland.

More than 30 specialists in neonatal care, mother and infant health and nutrition have signed a statement backing more support for women to help them breastfeed.

The statement has been issued to coincide with the start of National Breastfeeding in Scotland Week.

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It identifies issues facing some new mothers, including limited access to family or community support, attitudes to breastfeeding in public and exposure to "misleading" advertising of formula milk.

The signatories advocate measures including better support for all women, high-quality training for health professionals and providing age-appropriate education for children about breastfeeding.

Mary Renfrew, professor of mother and infant health at the University of Dundee, said: "National Breastfeeding Week is an important opportunity to reflect on whether we are all doing enough to enable women to breastfeed and what we could do better.

"There are significant and substantive differences between breastfeeding and not breastfeeding in regard to health and development outcomes, for both the baby and the mother.

"However, we know breastfeeding can be hard for women to do.

"A new way of enabling breastfeeding is needed - one that tackles the societal barriers that individual women cannot tackle alone and creates a shift in the prevailing culture and attitudes to breastfeeding.

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"This should be put in place in a planned and co-ordinated way by decision-makers with funding, influence, authority and accountability rather than relying on women's own determination, the motivation of health professionals and the work of voluntary organisations alone.

"This will require a co-ordinated cross-sectoral strategy that engages everyone in the conversations needed to create a positive environment for women, babies and families in Scotland."

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: "Breastfeeding is an important public health issue.

"We support efforts to make it easier for women to breastfeed, by offering all women the help and support they need to enable them to do so.

"Scottish Breastfeeding Week is an important opportunity to increase our effort and to consider whether we are all doing enough to enable women to breastfeed and to consider what we could do more effectively.

"Scotland has been working to improve the quality of support by implementing fully the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative standards in maternity hospitals, for women at home and for families with babies in neonatal units.

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"We are working to provide more consistent close skin-to-skin contact in neonatal units and support for expressing breast milk and breastfeeding.

"We need to remove the barriers that cause negativity towards breastfeeding, and to promote it as a natural and healthy activity for mothers and infants."