A breastfeeding support service for new mums is being rolled out in North Yorkshire County Council’s children's centres and community venues.
Breastfeeding groups can access support from the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust's (HDFT) health visitors.
County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “Breastfeeding is a great way to get your baby off to a good start.
“Although it’s a natural process, breastfeeding is a skill that has to be learned by mothers and babies. We know that many people can find breastfeeding challenging in the early days, so we have made changes to our service for new mums across the County, so that good quality support and help is at hand.
“Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including stomach and chest infections in infancy, and can help prevent heart disease, asthma and diabetes in later life.
"We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers – as well as being easier, cheaper and simply less trouble than bottle feeding.
“We want to ensure that all mums are supported to form a strong, loving relationship with their baby, whatever their choice of feeding method.”
The new breastfeeding support comes as the County Council and HDFT’s Health Visiting Service works towards Stage 2 UNICEF Baby Friendly Accreditation - the recognised accreditation programme for the promotion and support of breastfeeding.
The Trust delivers the County Council’s 0-5 Healthy Child Programme, which aims to help every child in the county have the best possible start in life.
Health visitors now provide clinical support for breastfeeding, and a team of health visitor champions are in place.
Children’s centre staff will deliver the new local groups with HDFT health visiting colleagues.
These groups aim to provide an opportunity for new and expectant mums to form a social network. Children’s Centre staff will be at the group to help with breastfeeding issues and members of the Health Visiting Team will also be available for advice and information.
Deborah Stuart, community infant feeding co-ordinator for HDFT, said: “Implementing Baby Friendly best practice standards across North Yorkshire is a very exciting opportunity as it ensures families can receive consistent advice to enable them to make informed decisions around infant feeding and parenting practices. We are really pleased to be working with North Yorkshire County Council and its partners to promote this vital information to new mums and their families.”
New parents or parents-to-be can find out more about breastfeeding support at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/article/24091/Breastfeeding