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Breastfeeding friendly schools

167.1 - Louise Young, Headteacher at Worsthorne School

6:43am 10th October 2014

Schools in East Lancashire are being encouraged to sign up to a new Breastfeeding Friendly Schools initiative to help mums feel welcome when needing to feed their baby.

The Specialist Infant Feeding Team at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust is raising awareness of the importance of helping mums feel supported and comfortable when they are out and need to breastfeed their baby. Within East Lancashire around 70% of newborns are breastfed however this drops to 40% after 6 weeks. This reduction can be due to a number of reasons, one of which is mums not feeling comfortable to breastfeed when they are out and about. The team are encouraging schools and local places to sign up to the Breastfeeding Friendly Initiative to show their support for breastfeeding.

Worsthorne Primary School in Burnley is one of the schools already signed up to the initiative after a mother received an unwelcoming reaction from those around her. Louise Young, Headteacher at the school, explains why they signed up:

"I am always keen to make our school a welcoming environment for parents as well as the children. After one of our mums received a negative reaction when she was breastfeeding her baby at one of our Reception Class induction days, I decided we needed to demonstrate our support for mums who chose to breastfeed.

"This initiative provides a great way to show our support. When we signed up we received the pack which includes a poster and door stickers which publicises that we have signed up to the UNICEF 'Welcome to Breastfeed Here' scheme. We feel that breastfeeding is a natural, positive and healthy choice and wish to support women who chose to do so."

Katie Wharton, Infant Feeding Coordinator at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:

"To increase breastfeeding rates and increase the positive health and emotional outcomes for both mums and babies, we need to protect a mothers and babies right to breastfeed out and about. Our initiative encourages local schools to sign up and let new mums know they are welcome to feed their baby if baby gets hungry during a visit to school. This in turn normalises a child's view of breastfeeding from an early age which in turn can result in more people considering breastfeeding as an option later in life when starting their own families."

If you would like to find out more information about the Breastfeeding Friendly Initiative, please contact the Specialist Infant Feeding Team on 01254 358046 or visit www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/Health-Improvement-Service/IF.

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