World Breastfeeding Week 2020 - Mums encouraged to seek breastfeeding support during COVID-19 pandemic

World Breastfeeding Week 2020
World Breastfeeding Week 2020 - Mums encouraged to seek breastfeeding support during COVID-19 pandemic
06 August 2020

It’s World Breastfeeding Week 2020 and midwives and nurses across the Northern Care Alliance NHS group are promoting the many benefits of breastfeeding with mums. 

This year’s theme for the global campaign supported by key organisations like the World Health Organisation and UNICEF is ‘Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet’ and it aims to promote the benefits of breastfeeding as a sustainable food source, which has benefits for the planet. Breastmilk is a renewable food that is environmentally safe and green because it’s produced and delivered to the consumer without packaging or waste. 

Breastfeeding provides every child with the best possible start in life. It delivers health, nutritional and emotional benefits to both children and mothers. And it forms part of a sustainable food system. Whilst breastfeeding is a natural process, it’s not always easy. Mothers need support – both to get started and to sustain breastfeeding. 

Midwives and nurses are reminding mums that they are always on hand to provide advice and support, in addition to new online support groups that are now available remotely to help advise new mums during lockdown. 

The benefits of breastfeeding have been well evidenced and midwives and nurses are keen to highlight the benefits to both mum and baby this World Breastfeeding Week: 

Breast fed babies are: 

  • Five times less likely to present with gastrointestinal infections (tummy bugs) or urinary tract infections.
  • Two times less likely to have a chest infection.
  • Two times less likely to have an allergy if they are from an allergic family.  This includes eczema, asthma or diabetes.
  • If the babies are premature they are 20-fold less likely to get neonatal necrotising enterocolitis, a bowel condition, which can be life threatening.
  • Have improved cognitive development.
  • And are less likely to be obese in childhood or later adult life.

Mothers who breastfeed:

  • Have reduced risks of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis later in life.
  • Regain their pre-pregnancy weight more quickly and their womb contracts to its pre-pregnant state more quickly, reducing their likelihood of postpartum bleeding or womb infections.

Wendy Blackwood, Infant Feeding Coordinator at The Royal Oldham Hospital, said: “The decision whether to breastfeed or not is an important decision for all mums and World Breastfeeding Week is a great opportunity to raise awareness amongst mums and mums-to-be about the benefits of breastfeeding for both mum and baby. 

“Our staff across the Northern Care Alliance and partner organisations are always available to answer any questions that mums may have and will talk about the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as skin-to-skin contact as soon as the baby is born. We want to help mums make an informed choice about the milk they give their babies and to have the support to breastfeed should they wish to do so. There is a whole range of information and support available throughout pregnancy to help mums make an informed choice about how to start and then continue breastfeeding for longer. 

“Skilled counselling can ensure that mothers and families receive the support they need and part of this year’s campaign is about ensuring that mums are aware of the support available to them, and about improving access for families to the services available – whether this is in hospital, in a health clinic, through a home visit, community programme or remotely via Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Luckily for mums in Oldham, Stockport and Tameside, they can access advice from online support group run each week on Zoom by Homestart. These groups offer mums the chance to join the Homestart Infant Feeding Team for advice, information and friendship. The sessions give mums the chance to meet other mums socially and ask experienced peer supporters any questions about feeding their baby. Homestart run the following sessions:

  • Homestart Tameside New Mums Online Group – this online Zoom session runs every Wednesday at 11am.
  • Homestart Oldham New Mums Online Group – this online Zoom session runs every Thursday at 1pm.
  • Homestart Antenatal Zoom Social Group – this online session runs every Thursday from 12.30pm – 1.30pm.
  • Homestart Zoom Breastfeeding Basics Workshop – this online session runs every Sunday from 10.30am.
  • 1:1 antenatal chat online/ on the phone – these sessions are available on request. To find out more about how you can join one of these sessions, mums should call Homestart on: 07802 883947. Homestart also have a range of great videos on infant feeding on YouTube that mums can access by visiting: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLu5ktrW08FBsowxW7dDlUA

Mums in Salford can also seek support from some fantastic breastfeeding support services provided by the Children’s Services Directorate Integrated Care Division – which is made up of Salford Royal’s Children’s Services and Salford City Council’s Early Help and School Readiness Service. This UNICEF Gold accredited service supports families with feeding and helps them develop close, loving relationships, ensuring that all babies get the best possible start in life.

Pauline Mulhall, Baby Friendly Initiative Project Manager, Children’s Services at Salford Royal, said: “Our shared vision is to enable breastfeeding to become the norm, with every child getting the best start in life. We aim to provide a supportive environment for all parents and awareness weeks like World Breastfeeding Week help raise awareness about the great health and wellbeing outcomes that breastfeeding can provide for both mum and baby. We would encourage all families to find out more about the information and support available to them across Greater Manchester."

For more information and support about breastfeeding, please contact Wendy Blackwood on 0161 627 8752 or Paula Mulhall on 0161 206 2331.