HEALTHCARE professionals are encouraging new mums and mums to be to give breast feeding a go as part of National Breast Feeding Awareness Week.

Local Midwives have been working with Health Visitors, Children Centre support staff and the local National Childbirth Trust (NCT) to boost the support given to over 80% of the new mothers who want to breastfeed their baby.

Jo Aspden, Midwife and Baby Friendly Initiative project manager, said: “Breastfeeding gives your baby the best start in life. Not only does it help to develop an intimate and affectionate bond between mother and child, it is nutritionally perfect for him/her and also reduces their risk of catching many infections such as gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections and ear infections.

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“Breastfeeding reduces the chance of them having allergic disease such as eczema, asthma and wheezing and is also known to reduce the risk of the baby developing isulin dependant diabetes and child hood leukaemia.  Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome otherwise known as cot death and can positively influence maternal health and help protect women against certain forms of cancer, including breast cancer and ovarian cancer.”

On the Island an average of 78% of women initiate breastfeeding however this number reduces drastically by 6-8 weeks. The Midwifery Team at St. Mary’s Hospital are currently working with colleagues in Public Health to begin to implement the Baby friendly initiative which is a global programme set up by UNICEF. It provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care provided for all mothers and babies. In theUK, the initiative works with health professionals to ensure that mothers and babies receive high quality support to enable successful breastfeeding. The Certificate of Commitment recognises that a health care facility is dedicated to implementing recognised best practice standards and the Isle of Wight NHS Trust is working towards achieving this.

This year The Royal College of Midwives is working with Mothercare to host informal drop in sessions at Mothercare store in Newportduring Breastfeeding Awareness Week which runs from 24th to 30th of June

Sessions will be held on Tuesday 26th June 10 – 12:  Wednesday 27th 1 – 3pm and Thursday 28th 10 – 12.  There will be a midwife or breastfeeding counsellor available at each session.

Sessions are open to anyone interested in finding out more about breastfeeding or for anyone who needs advice and support with breastfeeding. Please come along, refreshments available and children are most welcome.

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