Mothers are being reminded of the help available if they are breastfeeding, while businesses are being urged to play their part as Kent supports National Breastfeeding Week (18-27 June).
To raise awareness, mums and support service staff will be walking through a number of Kent town’s during the week – including Tenterden, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Dover, Tonbridge, Tonbridge Wells, Folkestone, Canterbury, New Romney and Sittingbourne – providing businesses with information packs about the law and available support services which can help.
PS Breastfeeding CIC (PSB) delivers the Kent Community Infant Feeding Service for KCC, with the aim of improving breastfeeding rates across the county by providing support for new mothers. Lyn Scazafabo from PSB said: “This year’s Celebration Week is showing how local communities, including employers, can support mothers to breastfeed, whenever and wherever they are. It’s an opportunity to promote the support available, to share ideas and inspire others.”
At a national level, the aim of the week is to highlight how the majority of women report not meeting their breastfeeding goals and how services are working to support them. It also raises awareness of the health and wellbeing benefits of breastfeeding for mothers, their infants and the long term public health for everyone. Strong evidence demonstrates the positive effects of breastfeeding for mum and baby.*
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) state that it is for women to decide how long they wish to breastfeed; returning to work does not mean women have to stop breastfeeding.
Employers are required to provide suitable rest facilities for workers who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The HSE also recommends to employers that it is good practice to provide a private, healthy and safe environment for nursing mothers to express and store milk (although this is not a legal requirement).
Kent County Council is reminding employers of their responsibilities and is urging organisations across the county to sign up and publicise their breastfeeding friendly facilities which would benefit staff and customers.
KCC’s Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark, said: “Supporting mothers to continue breastfeeding makes economic sense for local employers as breastfeeding reduces the frequency and severity of a range of childhood illnesses so parents are likely to need less time off to look after them. It also increases staff morale and loyalty and generates a higher rate of return to work.”
If you are a business wanting more details about becoming ‘Breastfeeding Friendly’, please visit www.kentbabymatters.org/breastfeeding-and-returning-to-work
KCC also aims to boost the number of mums joining the peer volunteer service; training is underway for new supporters but there is an appeal for even more mums to join this countywide team. For more information on the services available or to become a peer volunteer, go to www.kentbabymatters.org
Notes to editors:
PSB volunteers/staff will be leading walks at high streets in:
- Tenterden with Town Mayor Cllr Pamela Smith. From Tenterden Town Hall at 10.30am on Monday 20.
- Tunbridge Wells at 1230pm on Monday 20 June.
- Dover at 10am on Tuesday 21 June (followed by an event at Charlton Centre Cafe at 12pm).
- Maidstone at 11.30am, New Romney at 10.30am and Tonbridge at 11.15am on Wednesday 22 June.
- Sittingbourne at 1pm, Sevenoaks at 10am, Folkestone at 10am and Canterbury at 10.30am on Thursday 23 June.
There will also be an information stall and meet-up for mums in the Charlton Centre Café, Dover on Tuesday 21 June from 12 to 2.30pm plus a picnic and art event at The Willow Children’s Centre, Ashford on Thursday 23 June from 1pm to 5pm.
*Information from Unicef UK www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly