Show support for breastfeeding mums, Suffolk venues urged

Suffolk firms are being urged to support public breastfeeding

Suffolk firms are being urged to support public breastfeeding - Credit: Archant

Public health bosses in Suffolk are calling on venue bosses across the county to show their support for mums and become “breastfeeding friendly”.

The Breastfeeding Friendly Venues scheme has been launched after new research showed 73% of people in the south east and East of England support public breastfeeding, but six in 10 mothers try to hide it in public.

A recent pilot project in Ipswich enlisted the support of more than 20 sites, including the Regent Theatre, and officials are now keen to see that extended.

Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for health, said: “Breastfeeding gives babies the best start in life which is one of Suffolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board’s four priority areas, and it comes with a whole host of benefits for the mother too. Anxiety about breastfeeding in public certainly shouldn’t be a barrier to breastfeeding in general.

“Breastfeeding Friendly Venues is a great initiative for businesses to show their support to breastfeeding mothers and to help new mums feel comfortable feeding their baby wherever they are.”

The scheme is being run in partnership between Suffolk County Council, Families and Babies, Ipswich Hospital and other partners.

To become a Breastfeeding Friendly Venue, businesses must provide a welcoming and clean environment and ensure staff are positive and supportive of breastfeeding mums.

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Kathryn Whiteway, branch manager of Families and Babies Suffolk, which provides breastfeeding support in east and west Suffolk, said: “We are really excited to be working in partnership with Suffolk County Council Public Health to promote Breastfeeding Friendly Venues across the county.

“As part of the Department of Health’s campaign to encourage more mothers to breastfeed, one of the goals in Suffolk is to protect the mother’s right to breastfeed in public.

“From speaking to mums we know a big barrier is breastfeeding in public. If we can encourage local businesses and establishments to sign up to the scheme, we can hopefully break down these barriers and mums will feel more confident to breastfeed when out and about by seeing the welcome signs displayed.”

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