Janet Calvert, Regional Breastfeeding Coordinator at the PHA, said: “Once you’ve made the decision to breastfeed your baby, whether or not you feel able to breastfeed in public can make an enormous difference to your quality of life. It can be daunting enough to get out and about with a new baby, but the added pressure of finding a place where you can feel welcome to breastfeed can prevent some mums from breastfeeding for longer periods of time.”
Breastfeeding gives a child the best possible start in life and babies have better protection against certain illnesses the longer breastfeeding continues.
Babies who are breastfed are less likely to suffer from ear and kidney infections or be admitted to hospital with gastric or chest infections. Children who have been breastfed are also less likely to become obese or to develop childhood diabetes. But the benefits don’t stop there, as mothers who breastfeed are also at less risk of developing serious illnesses such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.
Research shows that the healthiest children are those who have been exclusively breastfed for at least six months, and the PHA-funded Breastfeeding Welcome Here Scheme’ helps make this possible.
Janet continued: “The PHA recognises the importance of breastfeeding and the many health benefits it offers for both mother and baby. The ‘Breastfeeding Welcome Here Scheme’ was developed in 2005 as a regional initiative to encourage and improve social acceptance of breastfeeding. Businesses and council facilities who have signed up to the scheme have made a commitment to welcoming breastfeeding mothers and babies and agree to display a pink sticker and certificate which indicates they are members of the scheme. Seven years on the scheme has over 300 members throughout Northern Ireland including, various popular tourist attractions.
“With the Easter holidays approaching the PHA would like to reassure mums that if they feel a little hesitant about breastfeeding in public, not to be discouraged from planning family day trips and excursions. There are various popular attractions across Northern Ireland which have joined our initiative to support mums who breastfeed, to ensure they feel totally comfortable when out and about.”
The Ulster Museum, the National Trust Tea Room, Carrick-a-Rede, the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and the Ulster American Folk Park are only some of the popular attractions that are members of the scheme. A full list of breastfeeding-friendly locations and further information about the ‘Breastfeeding Welcome Here Scheme’ can be found on the PHA’s breastfed babies website www.breastfedbabies.org.
Please contact the PHA Press Office on 028 90553663
Notes to the editor
The ‘Breastfeeding Welcome Here Scheme’ was developed in 2005 as a regional initiative to encourage and improve social acceptability of breastfeeding. Seven years on the scheme has over 300 members throughout Northern Ireland. The PHA recognises the importance of breastfeeding and the many health benefits it offers for both mother and baby.
In order to join the scheme, businesses must agree to four membership criteria. These include:
• Breastfeeding is acceptable in all areas of the premises;
• Mothers will not be asked to stop breastfeeding;
• Staff are aware of the scheme and will be supportive of breastfeeding;
• A sticker and certificate about membership of the scheme will be displayed.
When all the criteria are met the organisation or business name will be added to a membership list found on www.breastfedbabies.org