New mothers will now be able to get free advice from Amazon Alexa thanks a new tool launched by Public Health England (PHE).

The Breastfeeding Friend, launched by PHE's Start4Life programme, was created to encourage parents to 'adopt healthy behaviours'.

It is available for free on a range of platforms, including Facebook Messenger, and will also be available as a skill for Amazon Alexa's voice service.

Mothers can ask Alexa a variety of questions about breastfeeding and the answers will be provided tailored to the age of the baby.

A survey commissioned by PHE found that almost three quarters of women start breastfeeding when their child is born. However, this figure drops to just 44 per cent by six to eight weeks – making breastfeeding rates in England among the lowest in the world.

The study revealed that in hindsight, mothers wished they had been better prepared for breastfeeding. 

The research also highlighted that almost a third (31 per cent) of mothers also felt embarrassed about asking for help with breastfeeding from healthcare professionals.

It also found that almost two thirds (64 per cent) felt that access to breastfeeding support 24 hours a day would make new mothers have a positive experience and breastfeed for longer.

Viv Bennett, chief nurse at Public Health England, said: "These digital offerings will help guide new parents through their first weeks of breastfeeding and beyond, providing help at any time of the day or night, and aim to complement support and advice from health care professionals and breastfeeding specialists.

"The information provided by all the Start4Life services is NHS approved and both services are independent of Amazon and Facebook."