A pilot project in Swale which helps mums to breastfeed could be rolled out across the county.
The Best Beginnings project has health specialists working together to promote the benefits of breastfeeding, including a special DVD for each new mum entitled “From Bump to Breastfeeding” which shows stories of a diverse group of women the practicalities of breastfeeding and how they can access a range of support services.
Julie Williams from Best Beginnings said: “After discharge, the home is where most women’s breastfeeding journey begins even before she goes out shopping or back to work.
“Many new mothers have not even seen a woman breastfeeding and the DVD is a realistic portrayal of how some mums continue to breastfeed during the first year of their baby’s life.
“This helps to inform mums, dads and the wider family by being able to follow and watch the stories of similar mums in the comfort of their home.”
Department of Health guidelines recommend that mothers breastfeed for around six months with timely introduction of complementary foods after that.
KCC Public Health Director, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “It can be difficult for mums to access accurate, evidence based information to help them achieve those guidelines.
“This DVD delivers that message creatively and can be understood by all mums. We need to ensure that mums who wish to breastfeed are supported to do so. They know what is best for them and their baby and we just want to ensure that they know where to turn for help and have practical information if they choose to breastfeed.”
The project in the Swale area provides training to make sure that midwives, health visitors and children’s centre staff can use the DVD in their contacts with women.
Dr Fiona Armstrong, Chair of Swale CCG said: “The area was chosen because it has the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Kent, and the project will encourage health and social care staff to use these new resources in their appointments with women and families.”
The project will be evaluated and could then be repeated across Kent. For more information on the DVD and project, go to www.bestbeginnings.org.uk/fbtb
The Best Beginnings programme is part of Kent County Council’s ongoing campaign to improve breastfeeding rates.
Businesses are also being encouraged to sign up for a special pack to show they are breastfeeding friendly.
If you are a business wanting more details about becoming ‘Breastfeeding Friendly’, please visit www.kent.gov.uk/breastfeedingfriendly