Supporting breastfeeding mums during the festive season

Friday, 22 December 2017 – Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement
Supporting breastfeeding mums during the festive season

With many families out and about over the Christmas holidays, the Public Health Agency (PHA) is reminding breastfeeding mums to keep an eye out for the more than 530 Breastfeeding Welcome Here venues across Northern Ireland.

Popular family venues, council facilities, cafes, tourist attractions and a host of other businesses are members of the scheme and you can find them all on www.breastfedbabies.org

Janet Calvert, Regional Breastfeeding Lead for the PHA said: “While mums can of course breastfeed anywhere they wish to, the scheme aims to provide supportive environments and show public support for breastfeeding mums.

“Breastfeeding should be seen as part of everyday life and the more it happens the more normalised it becomes. Breastfeeding helps give babies the best start in life and so showing increased support for breastfeeding mums is really important, as Northern Ireland has the lowest breastfeeding rates in the UK and one of the lowest rates in Europe

“We know that for many mums getting started isn’t easy. Information and support is essential, both before baby is born and especially in the early days after birth, so that mums can build their confidence and stay with their decision to breastfeed.

“Creating supportive environments for breastfeeding is something that we can all play an active part in as it can help mums feel more comfortable about feeding in public, which is something that many mums are apprehensive about.”

Businesses and venues who are part of Breastfeeding Welcome Here pledge to welcome breastfeeding mothers and agree to display a pink sticker and certificate to show they are members of the scheme. Their staff are also aware of the need to be supportive of mothers.

A list of members of the scheme can be found on the PHA’s website www.breastfedbabies.org. The site features an interactive map so you can find your nearest Breastfeeding Welcome Here venue.

The site also has information on mother-to-mother support which is available from local breastfeeding support groups and peer support volunteers, information for partners and families who can offer support to mothers, and information highlighting what dads need to know about breastfeeding, offering practical advice and tips on how they can help their partner.

Notes to editors:

  • The Department of Health strategy Breastfeeding – A Great Start. A Strategy for Northern Ireland 2013–2023 includes key strategic outcomes which state that: “Supportive environments for breastfeeding exist throughout Northern Ireland” and “Government Departments and statutory bodies recognise the value of breastfeeding”.
  • Approximately 64% of mothers here start breastfeeding, compared with 83% in England, 74% in Scotland and 71% in Wales. That figure falls to 33% breastfeeding at six weeks and 16% at six months.