New Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme Launched

Hospitals and health centres across Forth Valley are to display window stickers and posters to let people know that breastfeeding is welcome at local healthcare facilities.

The launch of the scheme coincides with Scottish Breastfeeding Week and means staff will support the needs and rights of breastfeeding women. This includes being approachable and offering an area where women feel comfortable to breastfeed.

Several events* have been organised across the area to mark the start of the initiative and it is hoped that the scheme can be rolled out to other facilities across the area.

Elaine Ronald, NHS Forth Valley Breastfeeding Coordinator, said: “Breast feeding matters to babies, women, families and society. Staff across maternity and health visiting services are continuing to work hard to improve breastfeeding rates and provide support to all mothers, no matter how they choose to feed their babies.

“The maternity service at Forth Valley Royal Hospital has been UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) accredited for 5 years and the health visiting service is working hard towards full UNICEG BFI accreditation by the end of the year. We believe we must make it possible and easy for women to breastfeed if they wish, hence the development of a Breastfeeding Welcome scheme and logo.”

The logo was developed in partnership with a range of groups and organisations including women who currently attend local breastfeeding groups, Central Scotland Regional Equality Council and women’s groups from both language minority communities and  the deaf community.

In addition to the clinical support provided by midwives and health visitors, mothers who choose to breastfeed are encouraged to attend local breastfeeding groups run by health visitors. Local women will also be given copies of NHS Health Scotland’s resource ‘Off to a Good Start’ and encouraged to access the website for further information.