HEALTH bosses have launched a series of breastfeeding leaflets to help new mums in South Tyneside.
The leaflets are designed to shatter the myths surrounding breastfeeding, and offer support to mothers.
As well as mums, they are aimed at all family members including dad, grandparents as well as GPs.
They will be placed in maternity units and will be given out by midwives and breastfeeding support workers.
NHS South of Tyne and Wear – working on behalf of Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust (PCT), Gateshead PCT and South Tyneside PCT – have worked with NHS North East for PCTs across the North East to produce the leaflets.
Marietta Evans, director of public health and lead for child health for NHS South of Tyne and Wear, said: “We want to encourage mums to start, and keep, breastfeeding because it has so many benefits – for both mum and baby.
“Breastfeeding helps to protect your baby from a range of illnesses including diarrhoea, vomiting, chest and ear infections, and reduces their likelihood of becoming overweight later in life.”
First-time mum Joanne James, from Jarrow, said daughter Jessica took a week to start feeding properly – but is glad she persevered.
The 28-year-old added: “I would encourage other mums to try breastfeeding – but if they can’t do it, I understand as I know what it is like.
“I always wanted to breastfeed. I read up on it and went to the classes but I don’t think anything prepares you until you have your baby.”
Other support available to mums and families is peer-to-peer work where volunteer mums are trained to offer peer support to new breastfeeding mothers, and local groups.
In South Tyneside the scheme is called Breast Friends.
For information, contact Julie Conaughton, promoting health practitioner for South Tyneside PCT, on 283 1298.