Supporting local mums to start and continue breastfeeding
A new local campaign aims to ensure that all women are supported if they choose to start and continue breastfeeding.
Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Strategic Breastfeeding Lead Jane Dickens explains: “Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and life enhancing human activities, providing all the nutrients and drinks a baby needs until they’re ready for the addition of solid foods at around six months of age. Often women want to breastfeed their baby but experience challenges in doing so, which could potentially be overcome with the right support.
“Over the next four years our new Bradford Metropolitan District Breastfeeding Strategy will enable us to create a more joined-up approach across local health services to ensure more breastfeeding assistance is available to mums in hospital, at home and in the community. We’ll also be training more people to support mums who have breastfeeding issues.
“And outside of health care environments we’ll continue our work to advocate breastfeeding ‘here, there and everywhere’, ensuring as many places as possible are breastfeeding welcome, and encouraging businesses to adopt breastfeeding policies for staff and the public.
“It’s all about shifting the social norms,” says Jane.
Having declined rapidly since the 1970s, breastfeeding rates in England are now amongst the lowest in the world; yet evidence shows that human milk is linked to improved educational and social outcomes and a lower risk of infections, obesity and mortality.
Whilst over 70 per cent of mums start breastfeeding, in some parts of our district less than 20 per cent are still doing so after eight weeks, despite all the health benefits of breast milk for babies. The new campaign will protect, promote, support and normalise breastfeeding as well as encourage wider societal change, so breastfeeding is once again seen as the socially and biologically normal and pleasurable way to feed babies.
The Bradford Metropolitan District Breastfeeding Strategy has been developed by Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust together with Bradford Metropolitan District Council and other key services (including maternity, voluntary sector Doulas, and the Bradford Breastfeeding Buddies).
Photo: Alex Horsfall, Jane Dickens and Michelle Smith from the 0-19 Services team, celebrating the launch of the new strategy.