Wakefield Council is starting a breastfeeding friendly scheme to make it easier for new mums to do it outside the home.
It is is breastfeeding celebration week between June 18 to 27 – and to mark the occasion the council is hoping to increase the number of businesses which provide a warm welcome for mums feeding their babies.
Breastfeeding rates in Wakefield are among the lowest in the country and significantly lower than the national average.
In the city, only six out of ten mothers breastfeed their newborns and just three out of ten are still doing so six to eight weeks later.
A reason often given for stopping breastfeeding is that mothers feel like they cannot do it outside the privacy of their own home.
The council hopes to create a more supportive environment to help parents feed their baby when they are away from home, helping to breakdown the barriers to breastfeeding in public.
Councillor Pat Garbutt, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “We’re delighted to launch this initiative across the district to give mums extra reassurance that there are many breastfeeding-friendly venues when out and about.
“It is important that we support mums who choose to breastfeed in any way that we can.
“We’ve always welcomed breastfeeding and this initiative will make it easier for mothers to see which venues are signed up.
“We also want more businesses to join us and sign-up to show their support and make Wakefield even more breastfeeding friendly.”
Research shows that breastfeeding helps to protect babies against infection and illness and lowers the risk of cancer in mothers.
Many businesses have already signed up the scheme, including those at Trinity Walk in Wakefield.
Café Nero is showing their support by offering table service for breastfeeding mums.
Cormac Hamilton, Trinity Walk’s centre manager, said: “Making mums who choose to breastfeed feel welcome is extremely important and as a centre, we want them to feel relaxed and at ease when they need to feed their little ones. Our retailers are very supportive, including Caffe Nero for example, who like many others go that extra step.
More information and a map of the breastfeeding friendly venues currently signed up in the district can be viewed at www.wakefield.gov.uk/breastfeeding
Businesses that would like to sign up to the charter can do so by visiting www.wakefield.gov.uk/breastfeeding