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📰 Breastfeeding is very Welcome in Southampton

    • Civic Centre welcomes breastfeeding families

    Civic Centre welcomes breastfeeding families

    • NHS Trust Unicef Baby Friendly award

    NHS Trust Unicef Baby Friendly award

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Breastfeeding mums in Southampton now have more support of their feeding choices with the Breastfeeding Welcome Southampton scheme, which was officially launched today (11 May 2015).  Over 40 people, including a range of professionals, as well as a number of mums and tots had the chance to test facilities in the Civic Centre during the official launch.

Southampton City Council is working in partnership with Solent NHS Trust Health Visiting Team and University Hospitals Southampton Midwifery Services as well as the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), who manage this national scheme, as the Civic Centre and all council buildings have now become ‘Breastfeeding Welcome’ venues. 

Polls reveal that seeing a woman breastfeeding does not bother 85% of adults. Despite this, 63% of breastfeeding women report that they have been on the receiving end of unsupportive comments or behaviour while breastfeeding in a public place.  The campaign seeks to make breastfeeding mums and their babies feel comfortable when and where they choose to feed in a positive, supportive, public environment.

Over 80 city-wide venues have already signed up to the scheme, including WestQuay Shopping Centre, which announced its commitment at the launch event.

Andy Collyer, General Manager of WestQuay Shopping Centre, said: “WestQuay is very much a family friendly destination therefore it made complete sense to join the scheme. It's great for breastfeeding mums to know that as a member of the scheme they can feel comfortable and supported by all of our staff wherever they are within the centre”.   

Dawn Baxendale, Chief Executive of Southampton City Council, said: “We are pleased to be able to offer Southampton mums and babies a comfortable location to freely breastfeed their babies, and it was a pleasure to welcome so many to the Civic Centre this morning.”

Breastfeeding Welcome venues will display stickers on their doors and materials inside to demonstrate their commitment to the scheme.  This will help mothers to identify locations where they will be supported, and also offer other patrons information that the venue supports breastfeeding.  Venues within the scheme can be found at: www.breastfeedingwelcomescheme.org.uk.

Of the 80+ local businesses already signed up to the scheme, destinations include children’s centres, nurseries, restaurants, cafes and shops, throughout the city. 

Bernie White, Solent NHS Trust, said:” In Southampton, breastfeeding rates are low, compared with the UK average.  At 6-8 weeks old, 43.5% Southampton babies are still being breastfed compared with 47.2% nationally (2012/13, Child Health Profiles). To improve breastfeeding support across the city Solent NHS Trust health visiting service achieved their UNICEF Stage 3 accreditation in December last year. This was the result of three years hard work to improve the number of breastfeeding mothers in Southampton.”

“After working closely with our partner agencies in midwifery, Southampton City Council and the NCT we are delighted to help launch the roll out of the breastfeeding welcome scheme within the city. “

Rosie Wilson, NCT, said: “Many businesses and other venues have an open attitude to breastfeeding, but women had no way of knowing this. Joining the breastfeeding welcome scheme and displaying the signs and logos let’s parents know that they can breastfeed their baby without worrying.  Mothers have told us that if venues displayed ‘breastfeeding welcome here’ signs, they can be sure of a friendly welcome.  The scheme also shows other members of the community that breastfeeding is normal and welcomed in Southampton.  This would make all women feel more relaxed about breastfeeding while out and about.”

[NHS Choices website]: "Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding (giving your baby breast milk only) is recommended for around the first six months (26 weeks) of your baby's life. After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside other food will help them continue to grow and develop healthily."

ENDS