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Breastfeeding is natural and should be the norm

Posted on the 21st September 2016

Health professionals from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Infant Feeding Team are calling organisations and businesses in Lancashire to support breastfeeding and recognise babies’ right to be breastfed in public. 

Babies’ right to be breastfed in public is protected by law and the Trust’s Infant Feeding Team is working on facilitating greater acceptance and promotion of breastfeeding in commercial and community settings with the overall goal of increasing breastfeeding rates.

Katie Wharton, Infant Feeding Coordinator at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said:  “Mothers do at times feel uncomfortable breastfeeding while out and about, even though many public and private venues have an open attitude to breastfeeding. The health benefits of breastmilk cannot be measured. It’s important that people support mothers to be able to continue breastfeeding or giving breastmilk for the maximum amount of time after birth.

“Public places, businesses, employers, schools and colleges are especially being encouraged to become breastfeeding friendly to reassure mothers that not only does the law support them to breastfeed their baby where ever their baby becomes hungry but the local community do so too. This in turn supports a positive image of breastfeeding and helps promote and protect breastfeeding as the normal natural way to feed babies.”

According to the Infant Feeding Team, new mothers feel more relaxed visiting public premises that display the “Welcome to Breastfeed here” logo, as it gives out an encouraging and supportive message, something that helps reduce potential barriers to breastfeeding by protecting and advocating a mother’s legal right to breastfeed in public places.

Premises could also help promote and support breastfeeding in the community by joining the Baby Friendly Places Scheme. Exclusively breastfeeding babies is recommended for around the first six months of a baby’s life, after which it is encouraged with solid food. Aside from the legal obligation, supporting breastfeeding can benefit employers by lowering recruitment and training costs, attract potential employees and reduce absence due to child sickness as breastfed babies are generally healthier.

Earlier this year, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust introduced a Breastfeeding Policy that allows employees to continue breastfeeding or giving breastmilk once they return to work for as long as they need; something that the Trust’s Infant Feeding Team is encouraging local employers to also replicate.

For more information visit www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/Breastfeeding-Friendly-Places  or contact infant.feeding@lancashirecare.nhs.uk.