First Prison Visitor Centre in Scotland Achieves Breastfeeding Award

The visitor centre at HMP & YOI Polmont has become the first prison visitor centre in Scotland to sign up to the Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland (BFS) scheme.

The scheme is a Scottish Government supported national scheme which is implemented locally by NHS Boards and aims to raise the awareness of breastfeeding as the normal way to feed your baby as well as support parents to feel confident and relaxed to breastfeed in public places.

Lesley Hetherington, Infant Feeding Co-ordinator and Community Dietitian with NHS Forth Valley’s Public Health Nutrition Team has been delivering training sessions with staff from the Cross Reach visitor centre, the Scottish Prison Service and parenting and family contact officers from Barnardo’s. The session gave an overview of the national scheme and the legislation it covers and the many benefits associated with breastfeeding. The visitors centre was provided with promotional resources to display on site which will reassure mothers that staff will be supportive of her breastfeeding when away from home.

Lesley explained: “Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections as well as asthma, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes in later life. We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers; however benefits extend beyond physical health, as breastfeeding supports the parent baby relationship the mental health of both baby and parent. Every community and organisation across Scotland can play an important role in promoting, supporting and protecting breastfeeding”.

The Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland Award is free and open to all organisations and businesses who offer a service. It is known that by participating in the national award, breastfeeding mothers who feel that they and their babies have been made welcome will come back to the premises and will share their positive experience with family and friends. This support and encouragement is invaluable, has a real impact on local women and helps to improve local breastfeeding rates.

Pictured at the Award presentation are (left) Lesley Hetherington, NHS Forth Valley Infant Feeding Co-ordinator and Sasha Groves, Manager of Crossreach Children and Family Visitor Centre at HMP & YOI Polmont.

Additional Information

For more information on the Breastfeeding Friendly Scheme in Forth Valley, including details of how to sign up, email or visit