Breastfeeding mothers are being celebrated and supported, thanks to the ‘Beside You’ campaign which is now launching across Kent on Valentine’s Day.
‘Beside You’ is an online resource giving support and advice to breastfeeding women, with an aim to normalise breastfeeding in Kent and Medway. It initally started in Medway and is now being extended as a partnership between Medway Council, Kent County Council, Kent Community NHS Foundation Trust and a number of other partners and providers.
Figures for 2018/19 show that two thirds of babies born in Kent and Medway maternity services received breast milk. Originally starting in Medway in 2016, ‘Beside You’ was a resounding success and now organisations from across Kent and Medway have joined forces to make this service countywide to benefit more mothers and their babies.
The campaign’s aim is to support women to continue breastfeeding for as long as they want to and to help to normalise breastfeeding – by making sure people have the right information and support to help women feel comfortable breastfeeding out and about.
Katie, a mum from Herne Bay, had nothing but praise for the service, saying: “My breastfeeding journey began six years ago with the birth of my eldest child. I expected breastfeeding to be easy and natural, but it definitely wasn’t as plain sailing or straightforward as I thought it would be.
“The amazing support I received from family, friends and breastfeeding services made the world of difference, and now I am breastfeeding my third child I am grateful for all the support I received in the early days.”
Representatives from all organisations supporting ‘Beside You’ were at a special launch event today at Cobtree Manor Golf Club in Aylesford, to support breastfeeding families and to launch the countywide ‘Beside You’ campaign and online resources. These included:
- Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Medway Community Healthcare
- Kent County Council
- Medway Council
- A Better Medway
- midwives from the acute trusts across Kent and Medway
- La Leche League (LLL)
- PSBreastfeeding (PSB)
- breastfeeding women from across the county.
Jinny Robinson-Bright, Clinical Services Manager for Public Health at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are really happy to be able to support breastfeeding mothers and their partners and family thanks to Beside You.
“We have custom-made some excellent resources that are available across Kent and Medway. This is a great example of how partnership working can benefit people directly and have a positive impact on lives.”
Kent County Council (KCC) commissions Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust to run the Health Visitor Service in Kent.
KCC Cabinet Member for adult social care and public health, Clair Bell said: “The Beside You website has been an excellent resource for mothers in Medway, so we are delighted to be able to now offer this online support to families across Kent by working in partnership with a number of different providers.
“We remain committed to increasing the number of women who breastfeed and offer support to families when they need it most.”
Councillor David Brake, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder covering Public Health, said: “It is fantastic news that the Beside You campaign, which started in Medway to help normalise breastfeeding, will now help mums across the county.
“We hope the campaign will help mums recognise supportive venues and feel more comfortable breastfeeding their children when out and about. I would encourage businesses and community groups to find out more about the campaign and how they can help mums feel more comfortable.
“Together, we will continue to support new parents and breastfeeding mums.”
Go online to: www.wearebesideyou.co.uk for more information and to the resources, and follow #BesideYou across social media.