New mums in Calderdale are being asked to get together for a world record attempt to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding.
In a bid to get as many babies breastfeeding as possible, all at the same time in the same place, Calderdale Breastfeeding Peer Support Network and Elland Children’s Centre are hosting a ‘Big Latch On’ event on Friday 31 July at the centre from 10am to 11am.
The event is part of The Big Latch On 2015 – an international event organised as part of World Breastfeeding Week (1 – 7 August) by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action.
The aim is to encourage new mums to gather and nurse their newborns in public, all around the world, to raise awareness of the breastfeeding support available and to help communities positively support breastfeeding in public places.
During the global latch-on, mums will need to breastfeed their babies for one minute from 10.30am on either Friday 31 July or Saturday 1 August, and the number of women doing this will be officially counted at each venue. The current record was set in 2013, when 14,536 children were breastfed simultaneously.
During the event at Elland Children’s Centre, people will be on hand to answer questions about breastfeeding and how to sign up to become part of a team offering support to other mums.
Calderdale Council set up and continues to fund Calderdale Breastfeeding Peer Support Network to promote breastfeeding in the borough. It is made up of local women who have breastfed their own children and work as volunteers to support other mothers. They are specially trained and supported in their role by a team of coordinators who work with health professionals. There are currently 35 peer supporters.
Mums can get advice from peer supporters over the phone and at locations across Calderdale, including antenatal and health visitor clinics, Calderdale Royal Hospital and support groups and drop-ins at children’s centres.
Cllr Megan Swift, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, said:
“The Big Latch On is a great way to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding. I urge local mums to get involved and help send out a strong message that breastfeeding is a normal part of day-to-day life and support is available.
“Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. We created the Peer Support Network to boost the number of mums starting and continuing to breastfeed. In Calderdale about 80% of women breastfeed their newborns in the first 48 hours after birth, but this drops off to about 40% by the time the baby is six to eight weeks old. The longer you do it, the greater the benefits – including healthy growth and less chance of diarrhoea, vomiting, ear infections and obesity for children, plus reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer for mums.”
Bridget Hall, Calderdale Council’s Breastfeeding Peer Support Network Lead Coordinator, added:
“We encourage more people to come forward to join our Peer Support Network. It’s really rewarding. Mums who receive support from our volunteers tell us it helps them to overcome breastfeeding difficulties because they have someone to listen to their worries and answer questions; offer practical solutions; give local knowledge about where to go for more specialised help; and offer reassurance.”
If you would like support from the network, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 07920 466660. If you are interested in volunteering to be a peer supporter, please contact email@example.com or 01422 393480.
For more information visit the Calderdale Breastfeeding Support Network Facebook page or follow @breastfeedpeers on Twitter.