This World Breastfeeding Week, 1 – 7 August, it’s time to highlight the many benefits of breastfeeding and the local support available for mothers and babies.
World Breastfeeding Week aims to raise awareness of the health and wellbeing outcomes of breastfeeding around the world and to support mothers to breastfeed.
This year, health professionals are aiming to build back better after the Covid pandemic and address the possible impact of lockdowns on breastfeeding. A ‘warm chain’ of support for breastfeeding, including health systems, workplaces, and communities at all levels of society will help build an environment that enables and support for breastfeeding.
Information about the ‘Warm Chain of Support for Breastfeeding’ campaign and how to support it can be found here.
Cllr Christine Bannon, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Health said: “Breastfeeding for even a short period brings many health benefits to mother and baby, but the longer breastfeeding continues the better. World Breastfeeding Week is an opportunity to highlight the fantastic services available to support mothers and babies in Knowsley. This is especially important at the moment as the Covid pandemic lockdowns may have knocked the confidence of many mums planning to breastfeed their babies.”
Support when you need it
In March this year, Knowsley was awarded full Baby Friendly Initiative re-accreditation by UNICEF. This means families can feel confident that care and support with infant feeding choices and relationship building is available locally.
As well as the support routinely offered by maternity and health visiting services, families in Knowsley can also access a Specialist Infant Feeding Service, offering support and advice from infant feeding specialists and lactation consultants. Referrals to the service can be made via your healthcare provider.
In addition, Knowsley has a breastfeeding support service – Bosom Buddies – health professionals and mums who offer support from the antenatal period right up until 6- 8 weeks after birth. This includes education around infant feeding and relationship building, telephone support and home visits.
One mum who received support from Bosom Buddies said: “I felt so supported and reassured by my Bosom Buddy – she was approachable, kind and friendly and her advice increased my confidence in breastfeeding. I just want to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to the Bosom Buddies. My son has had an amazing start to his life and that is thanks to the support I have received.”
Ongoing support in the community with breastfeeding is also available from Homestart who offer a range of opportunities to access support in the local community.
Benefits of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding boosts baby’s ability to fight illness and infection and lowers a mother’s risk of breast cancer. It may also reduce the risk of ovarian cancer and it burns around 500 calories a day.
Local breastfeeding rates have increased slightly over recent years. Currently, 44% of new mums start breastfeeding in Knowsley compared to 67% nationally. This falls to 23% by 6 weeks (compared to a national rate of 48%).