Somerset celebrates launch of Infant Feeding and Nutrition Strategy (World Breastfeeding Week 2017)

Somerset County Council is celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2017 (1-7th August) with the launch of a Somerset Infant Feeding and Nutrition Strategy.

The strategy aims to provide information and support to families to help increase the number of women who breastfeed and support those who breastfeed already to do so for longer.

The new Somerset model will provide a co-ordinated network of professional and mother to mother support for pregnant women, new mothers and mothers who breastfeed and their families.

Cllr. Christine Lawrence, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Public Health and Wellbeing, Somerset County Council said: “The theme for this 25th year of the World Breastfeeding Week is ‘working together for the common good’ which certainly hits the mark here in Somerset.

“Across the county we are offering families a range of different types of support at home, in hospital and in the community through collaboration with our partners in maternity, health visiting, and in the community.

“Fewer than half of all Somerset mums are still breastfeeding their baby by the six to eight week health check. This has led to the renewed multi-agency approach to try and increase numbers.”

In England almost three quarters of mothers start breastfeeding (73 per cent) but this drops to 44per cent at 6-8 weeks. In Somerset over 80 per cent of women start breastfeeding but this then drops to between 40-50 per cent by the six to eight week health check.

Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health at Somerset County Council, said: “We want women to know the health benefits of breastfeeding, how to get information and support, and to feel confident to breastfeed anywhere in Somerset.

“We are looking to recruit mums to become Volunteer Breastfeeding Champions. They will help expectant or new mums and provide vital support in the community. This support will complement the professional and specialist breastfeeding support services already available.

“We will also be encouraging a lot more public areas to sign up to the ‘Positive about Breastfeeding Scheme’ award, which tells mums they are ‘breastfeeding friendly’. The Award is given to public areas and places and spaces that have made a significant commitment to uphold the rights of mothers by supporting their choice to feed their baby how and wherever they choose.

Breastmilk provides a baby with all they need for healthy growth and development in the first six months. Breastmilk constantly adapts to meet a baby’s daily needs and protects against a number of infections. Also, growing evidence shows it can protect against obesity in later life. Breastfeeding helps mums as well, by reducing the risk of breast cancer, diabetes and ovarian cancer.

To find out more about becoming a Volunteer Breastfeeding Champion or to put forward suggestions for public areas and places and spaces for the ‘Positive About Breastfeeding’ accreditation scheme email PublicHealth@somerset.gov.uk.

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For further information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk

Notes to Editors:
For information on Positive About Breastfeeding Award, check out http://www.somerset.gov.uk/health-and-wellbeing/somersets-positive-about-breast-feeding-award/ and email PublicHealth@somerset.gov.uk

To find out more about Volunteer Breastfeeding Champions please send us your name and contact details to PublicHealth@somerset.gov.uk

Somerset You can Do https://www.somersetvolunteer.co.uk/somerset-volunteer-service-home.html

The Somerset Infant Feeding and Nutrition Strategy:
http://www.somerset.gov.uk/policies-and-plans/strategies/somerset-infant-feeding-and-nutrition-strategy-2016/

There are currently around 100 settings signed up to the Positive About Breastfeeding award. In return Somerset County Council and Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust promote the venues to Somerset mums.

The Somerset County Council ‘Positive About Breastfeeding’ award criteria are as follows:-
• Babies can be breastfed anywhere in a public area
• The venue will implement a breastfeeding policy
• All staff at the venue will be made aware of how to implement the policy
• The awarded venues will display information to members of the public promoting that they are ‘Positive About Breastfeeding’

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least baby’s first six months. The action plan of the new strategy is based on evidence that shows that the right information and support helps mums to breastfeed for longer.

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To find out who the elected Somerset County Councillor is for a particular area, simply visit http://www.somerset.gov.uk/councillors-and-democracy/councillors/somerset-county-councillors/