Breastfeeding Welcome launched in Wandsworth
Published: Thursday 18th July 13
A scheme that makes it easier for breastfeeding mums to feed their babies in public has been launched in Wandsworth.
Mums and health care professionals went along to the official launch of the Breastfeeding Welcome scheme at Roehampton Sure Start Centre. The scheme aims to support breastfeeding mothers when they are out and about and remove any embarrassment or hostility.
The council's public health team are keen to help women breastfeed for longer, because it helps improve children's health and wellbeing.
Around 72 per cent of Wandsworth mums breastfeed - way above the national average of just under half - but although breastfeeding in public is protected by the 2010 Equality Act, many mothers say they feel embarrassed or discriminated against when they breastfeed in cafes and shops.
The scheme enables participating restaurants, cafes, shops, children's centres, GP surgeries and other publics venue to display a special window sticker telling mums they are welcome to breastfeed.
In return their premises will be advertised on the national Breastfeeding Welcome website.
Houda Al-Sharifi, Wandsworth's director of public health said:
"Wandsworth Council supports breastfeeding because of the immense health benefits it has for mothers and their babies. We know that breastfeeding reduces tummy upsets, lung infections and asthma in babies. It also reduces the risk of mothers developing breast cancer. Mothers who are in a position to breast feed are strongly encouraged to do it and we are doing everything we can to support them."
Breastfeeding Welcome is a national programme run by the National Childbirth Trust, which has charitable status. Any cafes, restaurants, shops or other public premises that would like to sign up to the scheme can do so online at www.breastfeedingwelcomescheme.org.uk.
The pictures show a mum and baby at the launch, and Deputy Mayor of Wandsworth, Cllr Kim Caddy, Gabriel Agboado from the council's public health team, and scheme coordinator Lilly John. High resolution images are available from the Wandsworth Council press office on request.
The Department of Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby's life as it is the best form of nutrition for a baby. After six months a varied diet should be introduced alongside the continuation of breastfeeding for as long as both mother and baby desire.
Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk. No other liquids or solids are given - not even water - with the exception of oral rehydration solution, or drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicines (World Health Organisation)
Breastfeeding has both short and long term health benefits for mothers and babies including:
- Promoting effective bonding between mother and baby
- Reduced chances of infections in babies
- Reduced chances of children getting asthma
- Reduced chances of obesity in children
- Reduced chances of mothers getting breast cancer
Breastfeeding rates measured at 6-8 weeks after birth is a key national child health indicator from the Department of Health
Breastfeeding rate at 6-8 weeks after birth in Wandsworth:
- Exclusive breastfeeding: 53.1 per cent (2011/12 data)
- Exclusive or mixed breastfeeding: 72.1 per cent (2011/12 data)
More information about Breastfeeding Welcome can be found at www.breastfeedingwelcomescheme.org.uk
For further information contact Lily John, Breastfeeding Welcome Coordinator for Wandsworth at firstname.lastname@example.org or Gabriel Agboado, Public Health Principal, Wandsworth Council on email@example.com