Breastfeeding campaign welcomed by health workers

A campaign to encourage more new mothers to breastfeed and to do so for longer has been welcomed by health workers in South Tyneside.

Start4Life, Public Health England’s parenting advice service, launched the initiative to help women feel more comfortable when breastfeeding in public, by offering tips from mums and experts.

There are also some new, short films sharing real-life experiences of mothers breastfeeding in public, to help break down the barriers and stigma.

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust has already introduced additional volunteer breastfeeding peer support workers, to help to increase breastfeeding rates among mums in the borough.

Last year, the first group completed the training course, which was specially developed by health visitor Jen Menzies, and public health midwife Jane Harker.

A new group of 12 mums has just enrolled for the training. It will work with the trust’s community health professionals who run ante-natal infant feeding workshops, and breastfeeding support groups at children’s centres.

Mrs Menzies said: “A Start4Life poll showed that many new mothers feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public, despite broad public support.

“New mothers need to feel comfortable in feeding their babies wherever and whenever they need to and, hopefully, this latest campaign will help us to reinforce that message.

“Rates in South Tyneside for beginning breastfeeding and continuing at six weeks are improving, but remain below the national average.

“The huge array of health benefits to both baby and mother make it a priority to improve these rates.”

For more information, visit www.nhs.uk/start4life.