Surge in businesses backing breastfeeding
A year on from the successful #NotSorryMums breastfeeding campaign, the Public Health Agency (PHA) has seen a huge rise in the numbers joining its Breastfeeding Welcome Here scheme.
More than 740 popular family venues, council facilities, cafes, tourist attractions and a host of other businesses are members of the scheme – an increase of more than 200 since the campaign launched at the end of January 2017.
All of the venues, along with info on breastfeeding support groups in your area, can be found on www.breastfedbabies.org
Janet Calvert, Regional Breastfeeding Lead for the PHA, said: “While mums can of course breastfeed anywhere they wish to, the scheme aims to provide supportive environments and show public support for breastfeeding mums.
“It’s great to see so many more businesses getting involved and helping to support breastfeeding as we know that for many mums, getting started isn’t easy. Information and support is essential, both before baby is born and especially in the early days after birth, so that mums can build their confidence and stay with their decision to breastfeed.
“Creating supportive environments for breastfeeding is something that we can all play an active part in as it can help mums feel more comfortable about feeding in public, which is something that many mums are apprehensive about.
“Breastfeeding should be seen as part of everyday life and the more it happens the more normalised it becomes. Breastfeeding helps give babies the best start in life and so showing increased support for breastfeeding mums is really important, as Northern Ireland has the lowest breastfeeding rates in the UK and one of the lowest rates in Europe.”
Among the new venues inspired by #NotSorryMums campaign that have joined Breastfeeding Welcome Here in the last year are all 96 public libraries, community pharmacies and the facilities at venues run by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.
Businesses and venues who are part of Breastfeeding Welcome Here pledge to welcome breastfeeding mothers and agree to display a sticker and certificate to show they are members of the scheme. Their staff are also aware of the need to be supportive of mothers.
A list of members of the scheme can be found on the PHA’s website www.breastfedbabies.org. The site features an interactive map so you can find your nearest Breastfeeding Welcome Here venue.
The site also has information on mother-to-mother support which is available from local breastfeeding support groups and peer support volunteers, information for partners and families who can offer support to mothers, and information highlighting what dads need to know about breastfeeding, offering practical advice and tips on how they can help their partner.