“Breast is Best” will be the message from two new breast feeding support groups launching in West Dunbartonshire.
New mums can come along to the informal groups and not only share information with one another, but also benefit from breast feeding supporters who will offer advice, support and encouragement.
The Lomond weekly drop-in service begins on Tuesday, March 1, in Dumbarton Library (children’s section), Strathleven Place, Dumbarton, between 1-2.30pm and the Clydebank group will take place every Thursday from March 3 onwards between 1:30 to 3pm at the Lennox early Education and Childcare Centre, in Lennox Drive, and water and juice will be available free of charge.
The support groups are drop-ins, no appointments are needed, and mums and babies can stay for as little or as long as they like. There will be leaflets, books and some equipment to help support mums breast feeding their babies.
Veronica Scott, a Health Visitor with West Dunbartonshire Community Health and Care Partnership (CHCP), said:
“There are many health benefits for mum and baby from breast feeding. For example, breast fed babies have a reduced risk of gastro-intestinal, respiratory and ear infections.
“Breast feeding women are at lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer and breast feeding naturally uses up to 500 extra calories daily, helping mums to lose their pregnancy weight.
“Feeding naturally also strengthens the bond between mum and baby.”
Breast fed babies may also have better neurological development and lower risk of allergic disease eg eczema and wheezing, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and childhood leukaemia.
Vernonica added: “It also saves money, formula feeding can cost as much as £45 a month.”
Meanwhile West Dunbartonshire is working towards becoming "Baby Friendly" as part of the UK Baby Friendly Initiative - a worldwide programme run by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.
It was established to work with the health-care system to ensure a high standard of care for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers and babies. West Dunbartonshire CHCP achieved stage 2 accreditation in November 2010 and is now working towards obtaining Stage 3 accreditation.
Stage 1 of the assessment procedure is designed to ensure that the necessary policies,
guidelines, information and mechanisms are in place to allow health care providers to
implement the Baby Friendly standards effectively.
Stage 2 involves the assessment of staff knowledge and skills, for which West Dunbartonshire CHCH 100 per cent.
Stage 3 assesses the implementation of the Baby Friendly standards in the care of
pregnant women and new mothers.
For more information about the new groups mums can contact the breast feeding support team on 01389 812321 or ask their midwives or health visitors for more details.
For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]