Breastfeeding Awareness Week 2018

01/08/2018

Breastfeeding Awareness Week 2018The Western Trust is celebrating World Breastfeeding Week from 1 August to 7 August 2018. This year the campaign theme focuses on celebrating, supporting and normalising breastfeeding.
 
Maureen Miller, Lead Midwife for the Western Trust explains: “Breastfeeding should be celebrated; the benefits to both the mothers and the baby cannot be under estimated!  Midwives and Health Visitors throughout the Western Trust area provide support to mothers and mothers to be through programmes such as Peer Support Breastfeeding Groups, Getting Ready for Baby and antennal classes.

In Northern Ireland only 7% of babies in still being breastfed at 12 months therefore it’s important that we continue to support mums and normalise breastfeeding.”
 
Maureen continues: “If a mother feels supported by family and the wider community she is likely to breastfeed for longer. Support can come in a wide range of ways.   Local businesses can participate in the Public Health Agency, Welcome Here Scheme and make mothers feel more welcome to feed their baby on their premises.  Workplaces can also develop a workplace policy for breastfeeding women returning to work and we can listen to our mums and signpost them to local breastfeeding groups.”
 
Health Visitors are offering guidance and training to any sporting organisation who wish to learn what they can do to make mothers feel welcome to breast feed in their clubs. 
 
Kathy Jackson, Lead Nurse Public Health for the Western Trust explains: “Breast feeding rates in the Derry/Londonderry, Limavady and Strabane areas are the lowest in the UK and is linked to other poor health statistics. This needs to change for the sake of the health of future generations not to mention future sporting champions.   It is time that we moved from a culture where bottle feeding is the norm to one which support breast feeding mothers.  It is sad to read in the research that 9 in 10 mothers who gave up breastfeeding within six months would have preferred to breastfeed for longer.  One of the reasons they stop is lack of support from the public, local cultural norms and attitudes.  Sporting communities are a great place to start to bring about change because they tend to have excellent communication networks and can spread the word that breast feeding is important and breast feeding mothers are valued. We are delighted that Steelstown GAA Club in Derry have signed up to participate in the Breastfeeding Welcome Here scheme.”
 
Roisin Curry, Health Visitor would love to hear from any club, large or small who would be interested in taking up this offer.  Roisin can be contacted at RoisinA.Curry@westerntrust.hscni.net Tel: 028 71 384114.
 
For additional information about breastfeeding or breastfeeding activities within your area contact your midwife, health visitor or breastfeeding support group. More information can also be found on www.breastfedbabies.org. or www.westerntrust.hscni.net