In line with this year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme, ‘Step up for Breastfeeding’, Portsmouth City Council is asking businesses to show their support to breastfeeding families.
Any venue open to the public can sign up to the Breastfeeding Welcome scheme, which aims to provide breastfeeding families with comfortable and safe environments in which to feed their babies when they are out and about in Portsmouth.
It is free to join the scheme, venues just need to complete a short checklist and will be provided with window stickers to display to show families that they are welcome to breastfeed whilst spending time in the venue.
There are already over 130 local venues signed up to the scheme, including The Spinnaker Tower, Parade Tearooms, Stagecoach Buses, Cascades, Gunwharf Quays and many more.
Lianne de Mello, from Southsea, is mum to Lyra, 8 weeks. She said:
“As a first-time mum, it can feel a bit intimidating out and about on your own when you need to feed your baby. Though mums have the right to breastfeed anywhere, it’s really good to know that some venues welcome it. It’s also reassuring to know the staff will support you and back you if another customer had a problem.”
Lianne also mentioned the valuable support she received from the Portsmouth Infant Feeding team and would recommend it to any breastfeeding families looking for support or advice.
The Infant Feeding team is part of the Health Visiting team and families can be referred by their Health Visitor or GP.
Laura Dearling, Infant Feeding Lead for Portsmouth at Solent NHS Trust, said:
“Our team can help with any infant feeding queries – breastfeeding challenges, positioning and attachment, tongue tie queries, breastfeeding assessment, and give advice and support to hopefully improve the breastfeeding journey. This can be via telephone or video calls or we can meet face-to-face at home or at Family Hubs. We support the family to breastfeed for as long as they wish to.”
Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at Portsmouth City Council, said: “Breastfeeding has valuable health benefits for both mum and baby and is recommended for at least the first 6 months. However research shows that the majority of mums stop before this point.
“Key to improving breastfeeding rates is having specialist support available and helping mums feel comfortable to breastfeed in public, so I’m pleased this is something we are striving towards in Portsmouth.”
Businesses or venues wanting to find out more about joining the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme should contact Sophie.Burgues@solent.nhs.uk
Organised by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), World Breastfeeding Week takes place each year from 1-7 August.