Bristol became the first 'Baby Friendly' city in March 2010. Maternity services had already achieved this previously and the health visiting services/ Children's services joined them by gaining the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Community award. All maternity, health visiting, peer supporters and many Children's centre staff are trained to help mothers to successfully breastfeed.
Accredited services work to meet best practice standards around breastfeeding and the standards are maintained through ongoing training, audit and periodic external re-assessment from independent UNICEF assessors. The Community has recently completed it's re-assessment and passed in November 2012-the first city to achieve this. There has been a rise in the number of women choosing to start and continue breastfeeding over this time, although the continuation figures are static at the moment. Mothers are mostly likely to cite pain/discomfort and baby not taking the breast as the main reason for giving up.
For further information on the BFI standards please see UNICEF UK Baby Friendly website www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/
Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme
For some mothers breastfeeding in public is a barrier to breastfeeding and so Bristol has been working with businesses, the council and the NHS to support mothers to breastfeed when they are out and about since 2008. There are now 300 premises that support the scheme www.bristol.nhs.uk
Please find attached our breastfeeding welcome leaflet that explains the scheme, the Breastfeeding Welcome poster [also available in several community languages] and window sticker that businesses/venues display. I thought that maybe this could form the basis of the article?
Support and information for mothers
The NHS Bristol breastfeeding webpages www.bristol.nhs.uk and our local booklet 'Breastfeeding in Bristol' [formerly the Essential guide to Breastfeeding in Bristol] is currently being re-vamped. As well as this we will soon be launching the Bristol Breastfeeding App, providing further support for mothers.
There is also an on-going dialogue via our Facebook page www.facebook.com/bristolbreastfeeding.
All of the above offer information on breastfeeding and signpost mothers to support which includes;
- Breastfeeding Support Groups
- Breastfeeding Counsellors
- Breastfeeding Helplines
- List of Breastfeeding Welcome Premises.
Additional support: for mothers
- This includes the Peer Support service for mothers living in 12 electoral wards of the city with lower breastfeeding rates by offering support and information before the baby is born and extra help after. It includes a free breastpump hire for mothers who are having some difficulties. The peer support service also trains and supports volunteer mothers.
- There is also an award/reward scheme for teenage mothers who are the least likely to breastfeed with free bras and small gifts [donated by businesses] and certificates of recognition of their acheivement
- Breastfeeding Clinics for mothers with on-going challenges