'TripAdvisor for breastfeeding' app launched in South Tyneside to help support new mums
A mobile application described as “TripAdvisor for breastfeeding” will be promoted in South Tyneside in a drive to support new mums.
Rates of breastfeeding in the borough have historically fallen below North East and England averages.
According to the latest data, around 30% of infants were totally or partially breastfed at six to eight weeks.
In a bid to raise awareness and support around the health benefits of breastfeeding, health bosses have agreed to promote the ‘FeedFinder’ app.
The free resource was developed with breastfeeding mums and helps them find, rate and share suitable public places to breastfeed.
As part of an ongoing ‘Digital Civics’ research project at Newcastle University, the app also allows users to review places based on how “breast feeding-friendly” they are.
A report, presented to South Tyneside’s Health and Wellbeing Board states the app could have a real impact.
It reads: “Unfortunately, we live in a society that sometimes makes it difficult for women who want to breastfeed.
“The perceived lack of support from the general public means a lot of women choose not to breastfeed at all, or when they do, they choose to stay home to avoid any unwanted attention.
“We wanted to develop this free resource to show the local community how they can support women when they are breastfeeding, from a warm smile to a free glass of water – how other people’s behaviour can have a positive impact on a woman’s experience when she is breastfeeding – and how it may even help women to breastfeed for longer.”
Public Health Strategic Manager on South Tyneside Council, Paula Philips, described the app as “TripAdvisor for breast feeding.”
She said the council would share the free app alongside targeted promotion with workplaces and new mums.
Other initiatives include offering training to workplaces linked to the ‘Better Health at Work’ award.
According to a council report, increased breastfeeding rates could cut the occurrence of common childhood illnesses such as ear, chest and digestive infections.
They could also lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancers for mums, while saving the NHS up to £50million each year.
Following discussion, South Tyneside’s Health and Wellbeing Board backed plans to promote the app.