Together we can make a breastfeeding-friendly Scotland

Lanarkshire hosts second breastfeeding summit

Breastfeeding summit June 2019

NHS Lanarkshire hosted a summit to demonstrate their commitment to protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding.

At the event, almost 200 professionals and volunteers made a personal pledge to support breastfeeding.

Anne Armstrong, divisional nurse director, said: "The summit brought together a wide variety of professionals from NHS Lanarkshire, the Scottish Government, both councils and health and social care partnerships.

"This included; mums, health visitors, maternity staff, nutritionists, social work, mental health and many more.

"The event allowed us to share what our aspirations and goals are going forward and gain the attendees insight about where they think we should be targeting ourselves in this journey."

Irene Barkby, executive director of nursing, midwives and allied health professionals for NHS Lanarkshire, said: "Everyone who attended the event was asked to make their own personal pledge to take whatever steps they can to promote, protect and support breastfeeding.

"The aim is to make Lanarkshire a place where breastfeeding is the norm and build a supportive community around families to support breastfeeding."

Anne Marie Bruce, NHS Lanarkshire infant feeding development midwife, said: "How babies are fed is one of the most important decisions parents can make as it has life-long health implications for both mum and baby.

"We are working hard to ensure mums know although breastfeeding is natural, learning how to make it work for you both takes time and patience. Additional support is always available."

The event also highlighted how breastfeeding is being included as part of the curriculum from nursery through to secondary school, including breastfeeding awareness sessions to senior pupils. 

The summit also saw staff from Chryston Primary School present on lesson plans on infant nutrition. In a trial project, children have been learning about breastmilk and caring for a baby.

The children wrote letters to Des Murray, chief executive of North Lanarkshire Council who has made a commitment to supporting breastfeeding. The pupils wrote to thank him for his support.

Des Murray, Chief Executive of North Lanarkshire Council said: "We are committed to encouraging more women to breastfeed. To do this we will ensure suitable breastfeeding facilities are available across North Lanarkshire and provide our staff with flexible working arrangements to support them when they return to work from maternity leave.

"I was touched by the letters I received from the outstanding pupils of Chryston Primary School. In these letters, they described what they had learned about breastfeeding at school and asked me several interesting and challenging questions which demonstrated just how much the subject had captured their imagination.   We strongly believe that lessons on infant nutrition at such an early age will help increase the number of mothers' breastfeeding their babies in future years."

The summit also emphasised the importance of having breastfeeding facilities available within NHS and council facilities for both staff and the wider public.

Dr Amy Brown, professor in child public health at Swansea University and author of 'Breastfeeding uncovered - who really decides how we feed our babies', also spoke at the event and discussed the impact society has on breastfeeding.

Dr Brown said: "Having a new baby is a stressful time for women. However, her body expects her to breastfeed and her body is set up hormonally for that. Breastfeeding is proven to dampen that stress as her body is less likely to have a physical stress response."

NHS Lanarkshire has a number of breastfeeding groups that run weekly throughout both North and South Lanarkshire. They are an excellent opportunity to meet up with other breastfeeding mums and get advice from breastfeeding experts.

If a mum has any questions around infant feeding or worries about feeding then they can call the infant feeding team on 01698 366710


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