Marking the national Feedgood Factor campaign 2012, which promotes breastfeeding awareness, local mums who attend the ‘Bosom Buddies’ breastfeeding support group recently got together to celebrate the welcoming atmosphere they encounter in local restaurants, cafes and establishments, which have identified themselves as ‘breastfeeding friendly’.
Local Midwives and Health Visitors developed a local directory of establishments in the area which are willing to provide a positive attitude towards breastfeeding.
These ‘breastfeeding friendly’ places can be identified by a displayed poster which invites mums to come in and breastfeed their baby at ease.
A high number of local establishments have now signed up to the scheme, which is supported by the Equality Act legislation to protect mothers who wish to breastfeed their baby in a public place.
Last week, local mums met in An Lanntair, Stornoway, one of the ‘breastfeeding friendly’ establishments in Stornoway, where staff were very supportive of the mums, and the mums enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere.
Senior Midwifery Manager Catherine MacDonald said: “Every day a mother breastfeeds makes a positive difference to her baby, so we welcome the fact that so many local establishments have identified themselves as ‘breastfeeding friendly’.
“Research shows that the benefits of breastfeeding start right from day one, and the benefits last into childhood and beyond.
“Breastfeeding reduces the likelihood of various infections and breastmilk contains antibodies linked to individuals – they are unique. Breastfed babies are less likely to get ill with stomach infections, chest infections and ear infections, are less likely to suffer from allergies, including asthma and eczema, and are less likely to be overweight/obese, or have type-2 diabetes in later life.
“For mums, breastfeeding lowers rates of obesity and the risks of breast and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis later in life. It burns calories and can help women return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster.”
Mrs MacDonald also pointed out that NHS Western Isles is currently working towards gaining full accreditation for the UNICEF (United Nation’s Children’s Fund) Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and continually improve care for mothers.
The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, is a global programme which provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care provided for all mothers and babies.
To date, NHS Western Isles has achieved the first step towards full accreditation. All UK hospitals are required to achieve full accreditation by 2015/16 and NHS Western Isles is on track to achieve this.