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Time to Breastfeed

by Sandra Issar

Knowsley is marking National Breastfeeding Week from Monday 1 June and highlighting how women all over Knowsley and Merseyside have been discovering some unexpected benefits of lockdown.

Lockdown has meant that many women have found protected time to breastfeed. More time at home and fewer visitors has perhaps allowed more opportunities for bonding and breastfeeding.

Mum, Vicky from Prescot, said:

I have always wanted to breastfeed and received support during my short stay in hospital when my baby boy was born. Once home I felt really anxious about breastfeeding.  Different thoughts went through my head; Was I doing it right? Was my baby getting enough milk? Has my milk got enough nutrients?

 

“However, the day after I was discharged from hospital I got a phone call from Bosom Buddies who support local breastfeeding mums. I instantly felt at ease, talking through my worries about breastfeeding, receiving advice and being praised for continuing to feed my baby by breast.

 

“Bosom Buddies phone calls have helped me greatly and I can’t thank the people who run this service enough. I have no regrets about making the decision to breastfeed during Covid19.”

Mum, Lauren, from Knowsley commented:

“Being in lockdown has helped us bond as a new family and helped with breastfeeding as we’ve had no interruptions or negative comments from friends and family members.”

Mum, Sarah King from Liverpool, said

“I’m a single mum and thought this was going to be the worst time ever. But it’s been amazing to spend time bonding and learning how to be a mum. Breastfeeding terrified me and I set out to only do 6 weeks initially but this time has made me love it and feel super confident about doing it now.”

Local breastfeeding rates have increased slightly over recent years. Currently, 48% of new mums start breastfeeding in Knowsley compared to 67% nationally. This falls to 21% by 6 weeks (compared to a national rate of 46%).

Breastfeeding brings many health benefits for both mother and baby. It boosts baby’s ability to fight illness and infection, and lowers a mother’s risk of breast cancer and may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer plus it burns around 500 calories a day.

If you have suspected or confirmed coronavirus and are wondering if you can breastfeed The Breastfeeding Network UK has all the latest advice.

Knowsley Bosom Buddies

Bosom Buddies is a friendly team of health professionals and local mums who have breastfed their own babies and want to help other mums do the same. The team supports pregnant women and new mums through the first eight weeks to help mums breastfeed if they choose to do so.

The team will contact mums at home within 48 hours of leaving hospital with their new baby and continue to provide up to eight weeks of support.

For more information about Bosom Buddies contact Knowsley’s Breast Feeding Support team on 0151 244 3269 or visit: http://www.nwbh.nhs.uk/Breastfeeding-Knowsley

Online support

There is a range of digital support to help guide new mums through their first weeks of breastfeeding and beyond, providing help at any time of the day or night, complementing the support and advice from health care professionals and breastfeeding specialists:

There’s the Breastfeeding Friend from Start 4 Life available on Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Facebook Messenger.

Plus lots of helpful information on the Start4Life website. You can also sign up to receive weekly emails and videos with advice about pregnancy, birth and parenthood.

Cllr Sean Donnelly, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said:

Breastfeeding for even a short period brings many health benefits to mother and baby and National Breastfeeding Week is a chance to highlight the range of support available during lockdown to help mums breastfeed.

 

“This year we find ourselves in extraordinary circumstances but to hear that many women are finding more time to breastfeed is one of the positives to come out of these difficult times.”

For more information about Bosom Buddies contact Knowsley’s Breast Feeding Support team on 0151 244 3269 or visit: http://www.nwbh.nhs.uk/Breastfeeding-Knowsley