Renfrewshire Council has been recognised with a Breastfeeding Welcome Award from Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership (CHP). The award which is being handed over during Breastfeeding Awareness Week is given to organisations which have a positive approach to protecting and supporting breastfeeding.
The Council encourages breastfeeding and provides facilities to mums in many of its customer service centres and social work centres and is training a range of staff to understand the importance and benefits of breastfeeding for babies.
The Breastfeeding Award was developed initially by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and during the past seven months, more than 80 members of staff across five sites have completed training in order to provide a welcoming atmosphere for all breastfeeding women.
NHSGGC Health Improvement Lead Anne Burns said: “This work has been very interesting - at first staff who came to the training were sceptical about their role, however we were able to show a positive shift in attitudes towards breastfeeding by the end of the training sessions”
NHSGGC Head of Planning and Health Improvement Fiona MacKay said: “In Scotland we have a Breastfeeding Act, which protects a women’s right to breastfeed her infant in public places. However, breastfeeding in public can often be challenging for women for the fear of negative comments or reactions from others.
“Knowing there is a comfortable and welcoming environment to breastfeed is very important to women when out and about with their baby. This award, displayed in the reception area and on the door as you enter Renfrewshire Council premises, shows that this facility promotes and supports breastfeeding as the normal and natural way to feed infants and young children.”
Breastfeeding is a public health priority and promoting exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months offers many health benefits to infants such as a reduced risk of stomach, respiratory and ear infections, as well as long term conditions such as asthma and diabetes. And the benefits are not just for babies, breastfeeding mums also have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancers and osteoporosis.
Breastfeeding rates are low in Scotland as a whole, and in Renfrewshire are below the Scottish average.
Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Council David Martin said: “Renfrewshire Council is committed to improving the health of people who live in our area, and we recognise that by supporting women who come into our premises to breastfeed if they want to, and by developing an awareness amongst our employees, we are beginning to address the need for a culture change around breastfeeding. It’s accepted as the healthiest way to feed babies, and gives them the best start possible in terms of their future health, and I am very pleased that so many colleagues have undergone this training and are now able to provide a welcoming atmosphere in our premises. We hope to begin getting employees in our libraries through the training from late summer onwards and we will continue to make every effort to help increase breastfeeding rates where possible."
In addition, Renfrewshire CHP is also launching a resource especially for Men. “Breast News” is a newspaper containing articles all about breastfeeding. Read about the experiences of one local mum on why she chose to breastfeed her children and articles from local MSP Derek Mackay and footballer David Van Zanten on what they knew about breastfeeding and on how they were able to support their partners. Men reading “Breast News” will find out why breastfeeding is good for health, how they can get support and information and on the valuable things they can do when looking after their newborn babies.
Breast news is free and will be available across Renfrewshire from July.
Notes to Editor
The centres being recognised with the Breastfeeding Welcome Award are:
Renfrewshire House Customer Service Centre
Abbey House, Paisley
Renfrew Health and Social Work Centre
Floorsburn House, Johnstone
Mile End Centre, Paisley
Advice Works, Johnstone
An award ceremony is taking place on Friday 29th June at 11am at the Marriage Suite at Renfrewshire House, Renfrewshire Council HQ, Cotton Street, Paisley, PA1 1AL. You are invited to send a reporter and/or photographer. We aim to have breastfeeding mums and community partners present.
For more information contact the press office, tel: 0141 201 4429 or email: [email protected]