Employers are being encouraged to be more mother-and-baby friendly while supporting mums who want to breastfeed.
North Tyneside Council is one of a number of authorities backing World Breastfeeding Week, from August 1 to 7.
Breast milk is the perfect food for babiesCoun Lesley Spillard, cabinet member for health and wellbeing
The council’s public health team is working with health visitors, pharmacies and GP surgeries to promote breastfeeding as rates vary from 62 per cent to 19 per cent.
The them of this year’s Week is ‘breastfeeding and work’, aiming to galvanise support for returning mothers and provide the right terms and conditions that allow them to combine work and breastfeeding
Coun Lesley Spillard, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, is urging employers, leisure facilities, shops, cafes and restaurants to actively support breastfeeding in their premises.
She said: “Breast milk is the perfect food for babies – it’s easier than bottle feeding, is proven to offer invaluable health benefits for mums and babies.
“Unfortunately many mums feel they have to give up when they return to work because of poor facilities or lack of support from their employer and colleagues.”
“I hope this worldwide campaign goes some way to changing these attitudes and that continued breastfeeding, rather than bottle feeding, becomes the accepted way of feeding babies for women returning to work.”
North Tyneside Council recently adopted the principles and best practice guidance of the Unicef’s Baby Friendly Initiative and all its leisure centre staff have received training to enable them to provide a welcoming breastfeeding environment.
This means that all new mums using the five borough leisure centres will quickly be able to identify where their hungry baby can be fed in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.