In a year when many people have come to value family more than ever, this year’s Breastfeeding Celebration Week (21-27 June) focuses on encouraging partners, families and friends – not to mention local businesses – to support breastfeeding mums as they help baby get a great start in life.
Benefits of breastmilk
Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s strategic breastfeeding lead Jane Dickens explains: “Breast milk contains all the nutrients and fluids a baby needs up to six months of age and continues to be of great health benefit alongside food from six months – but in Bradford less than half of babies who start out being breastfed receive breast milk after two months old, which is why it’s so important to support mums who choose to breastfeed.”
How you can help a breastfeeding mum
Whether its family members or close friends helping out around the house or providing childcare for older children to take the burden off mum whilst she breastfeeds, or local business owners ensuring they join the Breastfeeding Welcome scheme, encouraging mums to feel comfortable feeding their baby whilst out and about, everyone has a part to play.
“Being a new mum can be tiring and difficult,” says Jane, “but we can all lend a hand to make the breastfeeding experience a positive one. This is so important as breastmilk is full of antibodies which are essential for a baby’s immune system and the coronavirus has made everyone aware how important it is to have a healthy immune system.”
Every woman’s experience is different
Jane is however keen to note that every woman’s experience is different, and it can take time for a new mum to get used to breastfeeding. “Breastfeeding doesn’t come easily to everyone, so if you know a new mum is having difficulty, then do make sure they seek help from their midwife or health visitor – or refer them to the Bradford Breastfeeding Buddies – a team of volunteers offering breastfeeding support and information across the Bradford and Keighley area.”
And as we emerge from the pandemic and local businesses are up and running again, Jane suggests that the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme could be a good way of boosting business as well as providing a welcoming space for mums.
Local businesses encouraged to be ‘Breastfeeding Welcome’
“Mums often feel anxious feeding when they’re out and about and that’s one of the reasons they stop breastfeeding before they want to. It may seem a small thing to display a Breastfeeding Welcome pink and white sticker in your window – but it’s a big help to a breastfeeding mum who may well reward you for your encouragement by bringing her friends next time!”
Where to get help and support
To help a family member or friend who is breastfeeding you can direct them to useful, reliable NHS information online at the Trust’s Family Health services’ website ‘Better lives, healthy futures’, or Bradford Council.
If they need support with their breastfeeding, Bradford Breastfeeding Buddies offer practical advice from someone who’s been there and done that. Send a direct message on the Bradford Breastfeeding Buddies’ Facebook page, use the QR code or sign up here or text FEED to 66777 with your name, postcode and baby’s date of birth (or due date) to get a call back.
Professional help from health visitors is available Monday to Friday on 01274 221223 and telephone and email support and advice on feeding issues for families in Bowling and Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton is available from the Better Start Bradford Breastfeeding team in English Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, and German. Call Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm 01274 287968, Mon-Fri 5pm – 8pm and Sat 9am – 5pm on 07903 174429 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Local businesses wishing to join the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme can get all the information they need and sign up at the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme website.