New mums are being asked to share their breastfeeding stories during a national awareness campaign, organised by Unicef, which runs until 27 June.
A special picnic bringing together mothers and health professionals to network and share experiences will also be taking place in Knowle’s Redcatch Park* on Friday 24 June (1-3pm) and is open to everyone.
As part of the campaign in Bristol there is a drive to make the city more breastfeeding friendly, encouraging businesses to display the ‘breastfeeding welcome here’ badge. Bristol already has the biggest uptake of this scheme in the country with over 320 premises signed up, along with First Bus.
Councillor Fi Hance, Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “We know that some mums worry about breastfeeding when they are out and about with their baby and that this can be a barrier to continuing to breastfeed for as long as they wish. We can all help to nurture a breastfeeding friendly culture in the city so that everyone who wants to breastfeed feels comfortable doing so.’’
To highlight women’s different experiences of breastfeeding and the support available in Bristol, mothers, peer supporters and Children’s Centres in the south of the city in partnership with the council, have launched a new film
Becky Pollard, Bristol’s director of Public Health, said: “Breastfeeding has a wide range of health and emotional benefits for babies and mothers, so where possible we encourage women to try it if they can. Within the city some groups have lower rates of breastfeeding, which is linked to poorer health for mothers and babies, so we are working to address this and ensure everyone has access to the targeted support they need. As a starting point, ask your midwife, health visitor, GP or the national breastfeeding helpline for advice if you’re struggling.”
Bristol became the first Unicef Baby Friendly city in England and Wales in 2010, which means that staff working in maternity and health visiting as well as many Children’s Centres, are trained to offer infant feeding support based on best practice standards. In the city around 82% of new mothers breastfeed, with the city having some of the highest rates amongst core cities of mothers who carry on breastfeeding.
To get involved with the Unicef awareness week, share your breastfeeding story on social media using the hashtag #celebratebreastfeeding.
For more information about breastfeeding support services in Bristol visit: www.bristol.gov.uk/breastfeeding
More information about activities taking place during the week:
Tuesday 21 June 11.30 - 1, Whitchurch Health Centre – pop into a breastfeeding support group run by Barnardos
Wednesday 22 June, 10 – 11.30 – Southernlinks – drop in for support with breastfeeding and learn more about action research around breast feeding in public.
Friday - *Redcatch Park picnic: If the weather is poor the picnic will move inside to – Bumps and Babes, Ilminster Avenue Children's Centre, Knowle, Bs4 1HR. For more information contact Rachael Morley 0117 9039781
Saturday 25 June – Horseworld, Whitchurch, 11 – 1pm, pop along to this public event with children centre staff and peer supporters.