Sadly, many mothers feel uncomfortable breastfeeding while out and about, even though many public and private venues have an open attitude to breastfeeding.The Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme now gives these venues a way to show that they welcome, and support, breastfeeding mothers.
Did you know that most mums actually stop breastfeeding earlier than they wanted to? Do you know why? 63% of breastfeeding mothers report that they have received unsupportive comments whilst breastfeeding in public (Public Health England (2013) Progress in Breastfeeding in London). Find out more about how you can get involved to spread the word about the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme.
So, what’s in it for you? Well, the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme:
Many mothers stop breastfeeding before they want or intend to. Breastfed babies need to feed little and often, but mums need to get out and about too. Staying home all day to breastfeed in private just isn’t possible or desirable. The more often we see mothers breastfeeding in public places, the more normal and unremarkable it will become for everyone.
Polls reveal that seeing a woman breastfeeding does not bother 85% of adults. But only 39% of breastfeeding women have fed their baby in public by the time it is 4-6 months old, compared to 67% of bottle-feeding women. You’ve got the right to breastfeed anywhere: doing so in a breastfeeding welcome place means you can be sure that you’re somewhere supportive of those rights.
Mothers also report finding it hard to know whether they would be welcome to breastfeed in some places, and say they go to places they know they will be welcome so as to avoid the embarrassment of being asked to leave or being subjected to negative comments. By searching for breastfeeding welcome places in your area, you can find the right kind of venue for your needs. If you need more privacy, many of the venues are able to provide a private room if you ask.
Find out why breastfeeding is so important
Breastfeeding for as long as possible is the most important thing a mother can do to improve the lifelong health of her child. In the UK, more than three-quarters of new mothers start by breastfeeding. However, fewer than half of all babies are still receiving breast milk by the time they are six weeks old. And three-quarters of six-week-old babies are receiving formula milk, either exclusively or in addition to breast milk. This is despite the fact that the best health outcomes for babies result from feeding them only breast milk for the first six months of life, followed by the gradual introduction of solid foods alongside continued breastfeeding.
Experts, including the World Health Organization, strongly recommend that babies be fed exclusively on breastmilk for at least their first six months of life (Department of Health, 2004). The UN convention on the right of the child recognises the fundamental role that breastfeeding plays in fulfilling the right of every child to the highest attainable standard of health.
Breastmilk is the perfect food for human babies. Among many other health-giving properties, breastmilk contains nutrients that promote the healthy growth of nerves, brains and gut — nutrients that are not found in any other type of milk..
But breastmilk is much more than just food. In addition to providing the absolute best in nutrition for a baby, breastmilk provides all the energy and nutrients that a child needs in its first few months of life, promoting a strong immune system as well as sensory and cognitive development (Ip et al, 2007; Horta et al, 2007; Quigley et al, 2011). The benefits of breastfeeding continue into adulthood, with those who have not been breastfed as an infant more likely to develop higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol, weight gain, obesity and type II diabetes (Horta et al, 2007).