Mother breastfeedingThis year’s Celebrating Breastfeeding Week (1-7 June) is focused on supporting breastfeeding during COVID-19, and in our area that means using the latest technology to ensure mums get the advice and support they need despite the pandemic.

To protect families and staff, routine face-to-face clinics and visits are currently unavailable, but mums with breastfeeding worries need only to pick up their phone to browse helpful NHS information online, request a telephone appointment, receive support via email, a virtual support group or video call.

Strategic Breastfeeding Lead Jane Dickens says: “We want mums to know that all our services are very much #StillHereToHelp – we’re just using modern technology to deliver them.”

“There’s lots of useful, reliable NHS information online at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Family Health services’ website ‘Better lives, healthy futures’, from Bradford Council and on Bradford Breastfeeding Buddies’ Facebook page.

“Telephone appointments are also available with your midwife or health visitor, or for tips, techniques and encouragement from mums who’ve been there, Bradford Breastfeeding Buddies offer a virtual support group on a Tuesday and Friday, or a 1-2-1 video call. If you need support in a language other than English, Better Start Bradford’s Breastfeeding team offers telephone and email support and advice in several languages.”

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said:  “It is important that families know that they still need to ask for help and if they are finding things difficult the support and help is out there.”

The coronavirus has made everyone aware how important it is to have a healthy immune system. Breast milk is full of antibodies which are an essential part of a baby’s immune system. Breastfeeding also helps to develop the bond between mother and baby.

Jane Dickens says: “Many families are at home more than usual at the moment, so you can enjoy noticing when baby’s ready to feed. Developing a loving interaction is important however you’re feeding your baby.”

If you require help with breastfeeding, contact a health visitor Monday to Friday on 01274 221223. To access support from Bradford Breastfeeding Buddies just text FEED to 66777 with your name, postcode and baby’s date of birth (or due date) and you will receive a call back, or send a direct message to the team on Facebook.

Telephone and email support and advice on feeding issues 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: breastfeedingadmin@healthforall.org.uk