Local businesses support breastfeeding mums

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Published at 8:07am 15th March 2017.

120 have signed up to the 'Breastfeeding Welcome' scheme.

More than 120 local businesses across the county have signed up to a Dorset HealthCare campaign aimed at encouraging more women to breastfeed and have the confidence to do it in public.

Cafes, restaurants, leisure centres and other public venues have pledged their support to the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme, where they have agreed to sign a certificate of good practice and display a sticker welcoming breastfeeding mums through their doors.

Liz Stacey is Lead Breastfeeding Advisor at Dorset HealthCare. She said: "Many new mothers often say they don't feel confident feeding in public and some give up. We are delighted to work in collaboration with local businesses to encourage and support them.

"We want breastfeeding in public to be seen as 'normal', and believe we can go some way to achieving this with the help of local firms."

The right to breastfeed in public is protected by law, meaning nobody can be asked to stop, leave a premises or use separate facilities such as a toilet.

The UK has some of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Europe, with many women choosing to stop after six weeks.

In Dorset last year, almost 48% of women reverted to weaning their babies off breast milk and feeding them formula.

Caroline Baddiley is Breastfeeding Educator at Dorset HealthCare. She says: "Breastfeeding has enormous health benefits for both mother and baby, and lowers the risk of a child developing asthma, ear infections, respiratory illness and allergies.

"It also lowers the risks of breast and ovarian cancers, as well as osteoporosis in women."

There is a vast range of local companies backing the campaign, both big and small, ranging from Macdonalds, Costa Coffee and Tesco to Punch and Judy in Bridport, The Acorn Inn, Dorchester and Parkdean Holiday Park's in Warmwell, Sandford and Bridport.

Joey Symes is Customer Sales Manager at Dorchester Sports Centre, who has given the campaign its backing.
He said: "We are delighted to support this great initiative. My wife had our first child recently and breastfed, but felt uneasy and sometimes awkward with the negative reactions she often got when out and about.

"By getting local businesses on board I think it will help combat some of the stigmas that surround breastfeeding, and give mums the confidence to carry out what is a natural act whenever and wherever they need."

If you are a local business and would like to sign up to the initiative or find out more, simply send an email to dhc.breastfeeding.admin@nhs.net

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