It’s World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Claire Cleverly and Daughter - Breastfeeding volunteer
Claire Cleverly and Daughter - Breastfeeding volunteer
Claire Cleverly and Daughter – Breastfeeding volunteer

NHS South East Essex takes it’s first step towards Baby Friendly status.

As part of World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August), NHS South East Essex is reminding mums and mums-to-be that breastfeeding can  contribute to improving children’s nutrition, health and development. Breastfeeding also contributes to immune system development in babies and provides infants with protection from infectious illnesses.

Liesel Park, Assistant Director for Public Health at NHS South East Essex said:

“Breastfeeding can have so many benefits, it can help fight obesity and can combat future heart problems for the child and evidence suggests that mothers who breastfeed can speed up weight loss post pregnancy.”

Breastfeeding helps protect your baby against:

  • ear infections
  • gastro-intestinal infections
  • chest infections
  • urine infections
  • childhood diabetes
  • eczema
  • obesity
  • asthma

Breastfeeding helps protect mothers against:

  • ovarian cancer
  • breast cancer
  • weak bones later in life.

NHS South East Essex is currently working towards obtaining UNICEF baby Friendly status for its commitment to improve care and support offered to breastfeeding mothers and newborn babies. The UNICEF Baby Friendly status is given to maternity units and community services which meet UNICEF’s standards.

The initiative works with health professionals to ensure parents are supported to make informed choices about how they feed their children and that they feel they possess the skills to breastfeed successfully.

Locally, there is already a free scheme called ‘Mum 2 Mum’ is available which enables volunteers to pass on their breastfeeding experience and offer support and guidance to new mothers.

Claire Cleverly from Rayleigh, a mum2mum volunteer said:

“I was referred to the mum2mum breastfeeding support group by my health visitor when my baby was a few days old and with trepidation went along to the weekly meeting on my own! The volunteers made me so welcome and filled me with confidence in my breastfeeding ability, offering me ongoing support and encouragement. They told me of the helpline number that I could ring at any time and I certainly made great use of that
along with the weekly meetings!  It was when my daughter was a year old I felt that I wanted to train as a supporter and be able to help other mums just like me! Upon completion of the programme I really feel that I now contribute greatly as a volunteer within my local community! Thank you mum2mum!”

Any mums who feel they need support with breastfeeding can ring the Mum2Mum breastfeeding support helpline on:
7801 097605 or 07814 486497.

There are social groups also offering support across South Essex run by the volunteers.

Anyone who may be interested can ring Pauline Hammond, Clinical Lead Children’s Services at NHS South East Essex for an informal chat on 07973 672524 or email her at: [email protected]

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