Mayor and Mayoress of Oldham helping to raise awareness of breastfeeding

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Mayor and Mayoress of Oldham helping to raise awareness of breastfeeding
09 June 2015

A NEW mum from Shaw has been invited to take part in a civic event to raise the awareness of breastfeeding, thanks to a Mayoral visit to The Royal Oldham Hospital’s purpose built maternity unit.

Emma Street and Gareth Heppenstall were with their new born son, Riley James, when the Mayor and Mayoress of Oldham, Mr and Mrs Ateeque Ur-Rehman, visited the post-natal ward as part of their annual visit to the hospital.

After admiring Riley James and chatting to the new parents, the Mayoress Yasmin Toor invited mum Emma to attend the Mayor’s parlour in an event to raise awareness of the importance of breast feeding.

With national breastfeeding awareness week running from 22 to 26 June, women are encouraged to look at the benefits of breastfeeding which include:

For mums:

  • lowers your risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer
  • naturally uses up to 500 calories a day
  • can help to build a strong bond between you and your baby

For babies:

  • less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result
  • fewer chest and ear infections
  • less chance of being constipated
  • less likelihood of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses later in life
  • less chance of developing eczema

The UK is renowned for having one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world, with only around a third of mothers still breastfeeding in some way after six months. The main aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding, increase social acceptance of breastfeeding, and promote support for breastfeeding.

The Royal Oldham Hospital and North Manchester General Hospital (which is also part of The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust) are both UNICEF accredited breastfeeding sites. 

The Mayor and Mayoress praised the services at The Royal Oldham Hospital after visiting the acute medical unit, the neonatal intensive care unit, post-natal ward and T4 surgical triage unit.

They were interested in meeting the staff, parents and babies on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) as the level three unit is one of three specialist regional neonatal centres providing the highest levels of intensive care to the smallest and most vulnerable babies in Greater Manchester.

After chatting to a mother with her baby, spending time in the 18 cot ‘getting better’ room, where babies are being looked after in readiness to go home, The Mayor paid tribute to the staff, saying:

“It’s been absolutely amazing and an eye opener for myself. The dedication and commitment of the staff is commendable, and to be honest I am lost for words. I think the people of Oldham in particular are very lucky to have facilities like this and I have great admiration for the staff and management of this institution.”

The Mayoress said: “I am really very proud because I work for the NHS myself and on this official visit it makes me realise how proud I am to work for the NHS and see the work that we do and the care we provide and that each individual member of staff is 100% committed, well 110% actually.”

The Royal Oldham Hospital's maternity unit, children's unit and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) fully opened in December 2012. The £44m facility is a purpose-built four storey building, new antenatal wards, labour delivery rooms, midwife-led birth centre, obstetric theatres, children's unit and paediatric theatre, and a brand new Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Approximately 5,300 babies are expected to be delivered per year at the new maternity unit.

The Royal Oldham Hospital is now one of three specialist regional neonatal centres providing the highest level of intensive care to the smallest and most vulnerable babies. The NICU consists of 37 cots with 9 intensive care, 9 high dependency and 19 special care cots.

PICTURED: Emma Street and Gareth Heppenstall with their new born son Riley James, and the Mayor of Mayoress of Oldham.