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World Breastfeeding Week  

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Breastfeeding: every day makes a difference to your baby

Breastfeeding mothers and their supporters had fun last week as they staged a series of events across the Medway towns to mark National Breastfeeding Awareness Week.

Health Visitor Joy Grice shares information with local mums who drop by at the breastfeeding market stall.

The local celebration of this nationwide annual event highlighted that breastfeeding is the healthiest feeding option for babies and mothers.  It also encouraged friends, family and health professionals to provide support and encouragement for breastfeeding, both at home and when out and about.  The Breastfeeding Peer Supporters of SureStart Chatham switched their regular Breast Friends Drop-In for a special gathering at Latino’s Coffee Shop in the Pentagon and were thus able to reach out with their message to the wider public who dropped by to join them for coffee and cake.

This year the campaign focused on encouraging women to access the support that will help them to breastfeed for longer so the breastfeeding groups at Milk and Biscuits in Strood, Feeding Friends in Rainham and Breast Buddies in Sheppey staffed stands at Morrisons, Lloyds Pharmacy and the Sheppey Market.  As well as good information about breastfeeding, they gave away free pens, fridge magnets and flyers with local and national phone lines.  By phoning these, mothers and pregnant women can receive help with their breastfeeding challenges through mother-to-mother help from breastfeeding counsellors.

It is a fact that if a baby’s father and grandmother know of the overwhelming significance of being breastfed, their attitude and support can make all the difference to the breastfeeding outcome for that baby.  The NCT saw to it that a fantastic poster display welcomed all pregnant women and their partners attending the Medway Maritime Hospital antenatal clinic and a wave of enthusiastic breastfeeding mums were there to chat to couples as they waited.

There is ample evidence that mothers who want to breastfeed are more likely to carry on if they have contact with other mothers who are enjoying a successful breastfeeding relationship with their own babies.  Hence, Medway midwives and health visitors are seeking to refer mums to their local breastfeeding groups.  Two more such are groups are Breast is Best at Gillingham’s Sunlight Cafe and Bosom Buddies at Lordswood Library. Both groups are grateful to their hosts for their generous provision of venues all through the year.  On this special occasion they each had parties to mark National Breastfeeding Awareness Week.  In Lordswood they rounded it off with a sponsored toddle which has raised money so the group can buy books on starting breastfeeding, weaning, breastfeeding and working, nighttime parenting etc which they will offer to lend to members.

The strapline for this year, 'Breastfeeding: every day makes a difference to your baby', reflects the message that each day a women continues to breastfeed is another day the child receives important health benefits from its mother’s milk.  Rochester based La Leche League adopted this theme for its meeting held in Breastfeeding Awareness Week.  Mothers shared the reasons why they intended to breastfeed their babies another day and then were inspired to look at it from their babies’ points of view.  They said their babies would want to be breastfed for another day because they liked the various tastes as mum ate interesting foods, it was growing their brain, it kept infections and hospital admissions at bay, they were protected from things that triggered allergies, it kept their mums protected from getting ill in the future, it helped them get to sleep and it meant they were sure to get lots of special ‘mummy time.’  To help all local mums have access to good, accurate and timely help when they are wondering if they can manage to breastfeed for ‘one more day’ La Leche League (LLL) was especially delighted to accredit their newest LLL Leader, Karen Maher who now volunteers as a breastfeeding counsellor and facilitator of their breastfeeding group.

The local events for National Breastfeeding Awareness Week were hosted by the six local breastfeeding groups, facilitated by various accredited peer supporters, health visitors, community nursery nurses, midwives and breastfeeding counsellors.  To receive a card detailing the groups and their activities, which are open to all interested mothers and pregnant women: Phone Deborah 01634 814221 or email lll.rochester.publicity@googlemail.com

Midwife Eileen Rose looks over the breastfeeding display with expectant parents Kirsty Yapp and Lee Vann and their daughter Nicola Ashley at the Medway Maritime Hospital.

The Sponsored Toddle under way at Lordswood’s Bosom Buddies.

New La Leche League Leader Karen Maher is accredited by Co-Leader Alison Heasman.

A warm welcome awaits mums at their local breastfeeding groups.

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WABA: Protects, Promotes and Supports Breastfeeding Worldwide The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network of individuals and organisations concerned with the protection, promotion and support  of breastfeeding worldwide. WABA action is based on the Innocenti Declaration, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future and the Global Strategy for Infant & Young Child Feeding. Its core partners are IBFAN, LLLI,  ILCA,  Wellstart International and ABM. Find out more at the WABA website.