Wakefield Council launches breastfeeding friendly scheme

​Date: 15/06/2016

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Wakefield Council is launching the Wakefield breastfeeding friendly scheme to make it easier for mothers to breastfeed in the district.

Next week is breastfeeding celebration week (18 to 27 June) and to mark the occasion the Council is launching its new initiative to increase the number of premises which provide a warm welcome for breastfeeding mums.

Breastfeeding rates in Wakefield are among the lowest in the country and significantly lower than the national average.  In Wakefield, only six out of ten mothers breastfeed their newborns and just three out of ten are still breastfeeding their babies six to eight weeks later.

A reason often given for stopping breastfeeding is that mothers feel like can't breastfeed outside the privacy of their own home. By launching this initiative, the Council hopes to develop more supportive environment to help parents feed their baby when they are away from home, helping to breakdown the perceived barriers to breastfeeding in public.

Cllr Pat Garbutt, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: "We're delighted to launch this initiative across the district to give mums extra reassurance that there are many breastfeeding-friendly venues when out and about. It is important that we support mums who choose to breastfeed in any way that we can.

"We've always welcomed breastfeeding and this initiative will make it easier for mothers to see which venues are signed up.

"We also want more businesses to join us and sign-up to show their support and make Wakefield even more breastfeeding friendly."

Research shows that breastfeeding helps to protect babies against infection and illness and lowers the risk of cancer in mothers.

Many businesses have already signed up the Council's scheme, including Trinity Walk in Wakefield. Café Nero at Trinity Walk is showing their support by offering  table service for breastfeeding mums.

Cormac Hamilton, Trinity Walk's centre manager, said: "Making mums who choose to breastfeed feel welcome is extremely important and as a centre, we want them to feel relaxed and at ease when they need to feed their little ones. Our retailers are very supportive, including Caffe Nero for example, who like many others go that extra step. This can simply be by bringing drinks over while a mum is feeding or needs to feed a hungry baby. It's often the little things that make the biggest difference."

Other businesses to introduce welcoming practices include Xscape at Junction 32 and Inspirations Coffee Shop in Wakefield city centre. Inspirations is offering waitress service and a free top up drink for mothers who are still feeding after finishing their drink or meal.

More information and a map of the breastfeeding friendly venues currently signed up in the district can be viewed at www.wakefield.gov.uk/breastfeeding

Businesses that would like to sign up to the charter can do so by visiting www.wakefield.gov.uk/breastfeeding They will need to complete the registration form and checklist on our website. Once signed up, they will be sent a welcome pack, sticker and certificate.