More Breastfeeding Support for Somerset families

More breastfeeding support is available for new mums and families across Somerset in a drive to help them build close and loving relationships with their baby through breastfeeding and other positive practices.

It’s National Breastfeeding Week this week (Thursday 20 to Wednesday 26 June), and breastfeeding is scientifically proven to benefit both mum and baby.

In Somerset, over 80% of new mothers breastfeed when their babies are born; this figure drops significantly by the time babies are 6-8 weeks old.

Somerset County Council is listening to families who aim to breastfeed for longer and is committed to offering appropriate support to see this figure increase.

All mums receive support from their midwife and health visitor to help build loving relationships with their babies and support to continue breastfeeding. They are also welcome at community drop-in groups taking place across the County.

Somerset County Council has helped fund ‘Carry Me Kate Parenting Services CIC’ free baby slings for eligible families.

This funding, along with additional grants, has enabled Carry Me Kate sessions to now take place across the whole County and extend their provision.

Carry Me Kate supports parents with a sling library, breastfeeding peer support, social networking and a consultancy service for people wanting to try out different types of baby carriers in Somerset. Trained advisers support parents/care givers to find the right sling for them whilst following the safe baby wearing TICKS checklist http://babyslingsafety.co.uk/ .

Cllr Christine Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing at Somerset County Council said: “We are proud to support the Carry Me Kate sessions and encourage parents and care givers to attend. Baby carriers help promote the importance of a close and loving relationship between babies and their caregivers and helps release oxytocin, a love hormone which supports a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation whilst promoting a deeper connection between parent and baby. This contributes positively to perinatal and infant mental health.

“Scientific evidence also shows that when carried, a baby’s physiological regulation improves. It helps regulate temperature, heart and respiratory rates and emotional and physical growth.”

Kate Mahoney from Carry Me Kate said: “We are super excited to continue our work with public health across Somerset. Carrying your baby provides both caregiver and child so many emotional and physical benefits. We provide parents and caregivers tools to enable them to carry handsfree. Receiving grant funding from both the Council and The Somerset Community Foundation and the HPC Community Fund means we can support more parents with free sling hire and provide a weekly group from September in Bridgwater.”

Families should speak to their Health Visitor or Kate at Carry Me Kate to find out if they are eligible for free sling hire. Any parent or caregiver are welcome to the groups where sling hire is available. Contact Carry me Kate Parenting Service CIC Sling Library at Facebook (@carrymekatesling) or via email Kate@carrymekate.co.uk

There are now also 300 public places across Somerset signed up to Somerset County Council’s Positive About Breastfeeding Scheme.

This Scheme promotes greater acceptance and promotion of breastfeeding in commercial, health and community settings, with the aim of increasing the numbers of mothers who feel comfortable and confident to breastfeed their baby.

To achieve the award, places must agree babies can be breast fed anywhere in any public area, a breastfeeding policy is implemented and all staff are made aware of how to implement the policy.

Cllr Christine Lawrence added: “We are committed to enabling all mums to feed their babies naturally if they can. We know it’s sometimes not always easy but the health benefits to mother and baby are so valuable.  We continually drive to provide more support across Somerset to help families.

“Evidence proves breastfeeding is good for mum and good for baby. It provides a baby with all they need for healthy growth and development in the first six months and beyond.  Breastmilk constantly adapts to meet a baby’s daily needs and protects them against a number of infections. It also helps mums by reducing the risk of breast cancer, diabetes and ovarian cancer.”

A video highlighting the benefits of breastmilk is available to view at https://www.human-milk.com/index.html.

For more information about breastfeeding, the Positive About Breastfeeding Scheme or the support available, check out https://www.facebook.com/Somersetbreastfeeding/ or https://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/breastfeeding/

Ends

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

Notes to Editors

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents urges everyone to practice safe sling wearing by following the T.I.C.K.S. method and they encourage mums to attend a sling meet to have their technique checked and help them develop a network. Check out http://babyslingsafety.co.uk/ for more detailed information. Carry your baby:

  • Tight
    • In view at all times
    • Close enough to kiss
    • Supported back

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