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Nurseries encouraged to support women who wish to return to work or study and continue to breastfeed

Posted on the 22nd June 2017

Health professionals from our children and family workforce are marking National Breastfeeding Celebration Week this year by encouraging nurseries and childcare providers to support mums who may be returning to work or study to continue to breastfeed their children if they wish to.

National Breastfeeding Celebration Week is an annual event and this year falls on 26-30 June. The aim of the campaign this year is to support and normalise longer term breastfeeding by encouraging nurseries and childcare providers to support women returning to work or study to continue to breastfeed.

Katie Wharton, Infant Feeding Coordinator, said: 

“In Lancashire, nearly 70 percent of women were in employment in 2016, which is higher than the North West average. As a result, women who are planning to return to work are more likely to stop breastfeeding compared to women with babies the same age who are not planning on returning to work. To support more babies receiving breastmilk, we are providing nurseries with guidance packs to support the breastfeeding welcome child care scheme. These packs further support and promote the work nurseries are doing, raise awareness among mums of their ability to return to work and breastfeed and promote breastfeeding as the biological norm.

“Breastfeeding ensures important immediate and long-term health benefits for infants and their mothers, including positive impacts on children's cognitive development and their health as adults. Its good news for mums and employers too as breastfeeding is associated with higher productivity and lower absenteeism for breastfeeding mothers.” 

Each nursery will receive a pack which includes guidance around becoming breastfeeding welcome that incorporates both antenatal and post-natal conversation, storage of breast milk guidance, responsive bottle feeding information and the importance of longer term breastfeeding.

This week will also see the launch of the Lancashire wide Feeding Future Generation document aimed at looking at how everyone in Lancashire can play an important role in supporting women to breastfeed their babies.
The Department of Health recommends that babies are breastfed exclusively for the first six months of their life with continuation of breastfeeding breastmilk as part of the infant’s diet throughout the first one to two years and beyond.

The Trust has also 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.

Breastfeeding celebration week is a national campaign that is led by both PHE and UNICEF Baby Friendly Imitative (BFI). Across Lancashire acute, community (LCFT, BTH, BwD and LCC) and third sector agencies, work in partnership to coordinate a campaign that raises awareness of the value of breastfeeding.

Please get in touch with our Infant Feeding team for further information: Infant.feeding@lancashirecare.nhs.uk.