Council backs breastfeeding campaign

Some of the Healthy Living infant feeding team and volunteers
Some of the Healthy Living infant feeding team and volunteers

A NEW national campaign aimed at improving breastfeeding rates is being backed by St Helens Council.

Start4Life, organised by Public Health England, was launched today, Monday, to encourage more new mothers to breastfeed, and breastfeed for longer.

The Council’s Director of Public Health Liz Gaulton said: “More and more women in St Helens are choosing to breastfeed their babies.

“Mothers tell us that that encouragement and support from partners and grandparents is really important as both mum and baby learn the art of breastfeeding, particularly in the exhausting first few weeks after the baby is born.”

“Breastfeeding really is best for both mother and baby. Mother’s milk contains natural antibodies that help protect babies from illnesses, such as diarrhoea and chest and ear infections.

“It also contributes to a lifetime of good health - making children less likely to be overweight or obese or have type-2 diabetes. But best of all – it’s readily available and completely free!”

The Council’s Healthy Living team have an Infant Feeding Support Service, who will support you either over the telephone or come to your home.

Rebecca Wong, from St Helens, joined the Breastfeeding Volunteer Support Team when she had her second baby.

She said: “Breastfeeding my baby has always been hugely important to me, not just because of all the fantastic benefits to us both but also to know that as a mum I’m doing the best that I can for my baby

“The infant feeding team have been a constant source of support, help and advice but most importantly they are women who ‘get it’.

“They get what it takes for a mum to be successful at breastfeeding, whether it’s much needed advice or just an ear to talk to when you need to be listened to.

“Knowing what a wonderful experience breastfeeding is, I wanted to help other mums have that same experience and provide their babies with the many benefits that come with it.”

Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing Councillor Jeanie Bell also said: “The case for breastfeeding is so powerful.

“As well as the health benefits, it helps you and your baby to get closer – physically and emotionally - so while you’re feeding your baby, the bond continues to grow.”

To find out more, contact Mel Pilling from the Healthy Living Team on 0300 300 0103 or visit healthysthelens.co.uk.