‘Breastfeeding Welcome scheme’ provides support for local mums

During Breastfeeding Awareness Week, which ran from August 1 - 7, the Breastfeeding Team in the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust raised awareness and highlighted the availability of comfortable public spaces for women to breastfeed their babies.

Breastfeeding Peer Support Volunteer Claire Coney with her children Joshua, Saul and Clara.
Breastfeeding Peer Support Volunteer Claire Coney with her children Joshua, Saul and Clara.

Breastfeeding is important to the health of both mother and baby, yet Northern Ireland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe.

While half of new mums start breastfeeding, many stop as they feel there is a lack of support, particularly when they want to feed their baby outside of their home.

The ‘Breastfeeding Welcome Here Scheme’ is an initiative which aims to make it easier for mothers to recognise places where they can breastfeed and are supported to do so. Businesses who sign up to the Breastfeeding Welcome Here Scheme agree: Breastfeeding is acceptable in all public areas of their premises; They will not ask a mother to move or stop breastfeeding in a public area; All staff members will be made aware of the scheme and will be supportive of mothers on the premises; The business will display a ‘Breastfeeding is Welcome Here’ sign and certificate in their window

Mum and Breastfeeding Peer Support Volunteer Claire Coney has personally experienced the difficulties that some mums face when they are out with their babies.

“Feeding out in public for any mum can be extremely daunting,” she said. “Having businesses in the local community that welcome breastfeeding is vital to give mums a place to go where they feel supported and build their confidence.

“In my role as a Breastfeeding Peer Support Volunteer I have been able to provide support and knowledge to empower other mums and guide them through the challenges they may face while on their breastfeeding journey.“