Getting the message on breastfeeding

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Women should be able to breastfeed in public places without embarrassment - but they shouldn’t be under pressure to breastfeed either.

That was the focus for Lanarkshire Breast feeding Initiative’s recent annual general meeting, attended by mums and health professionals from NHS Lanarkshire.

They watched UNICEF’s recent video, which urges society not to puit pressure on women to breastfeed, but to remove the barriers that currently stop women who want to breastfeed from doing so.

In their recent call to action UNICEF Baby Friendly identify that breastfeeding is the normal biological way to feed babies, because it saves lives and protects the health of mothers and babies both in the short and long term.

It says the evidence for both the benefits to mother and baby of breastfeeding is well-established, as are the significant risks of not breastfeeding.

Neena Mahal, chairwoman of NHS Lanarkshire, said: “Society has a collective responsibility to create an environment which is truly breastfeeding friendly, and to overcome the cultural norms that discourage breastfeeding.

“We’re committed to doing everything we can to support, promote and encourage everyone in Lanarkshire to choose breastfeeding as the natural/normal biological way to feed babies.

“I’m delighted to say that the maternity unit at Wishaw General has achieved its baby-friendly reaccreditation following our assessment in April.”

The new Breastfeeding Welcome sign has now been rolled out to participating venues across Lanarkshire, and almost 500 premises are now part of the Breastfeeding Welcome scheme, which recognises venues and organisations who offer a warm welcome to nursing families.

NHSL’s Infant Feeding Development Midwife, Anne Marie Bruce, said: “Displaying the pink and purple sign sends a clear message to mums – ‘You are most welcome to breastfeed your baby here and you can be confident the staff will support you.’

“So it’s great to have the support of so many venues across Lanarkshire. Their support is helping people recognise that breastfeeding is a ‘normal’ everyday positive experience.”

As part of the AGM, Adele Sandilands was voted in as the new chairwoman of the LBI.

She said, “I’m excited about delivering our new vision to promote, protect and support breastfeeding across Lanarkshire and beyond.”