Ben­e­fits of breast milk

NHS La­nark­shire sum­mit is held

Hamilton Advertiser - - WORKING FOR YOU - Staff re­porter

NHS La­nark­shire hosted a sum­mit to demon­strate their com­mit­ment to im­prov­ing breast­feed­ing rates.

At the event, over 100 health pro­fes­sion­als and vol­un­teers made a per­sonal pledge to sup­port breast­feed­ing.

Anne Arm­strong, NHS La­nark­shire in­terim di­rec­tor of nurs­ing said: “The aim of the day was to eval­u­ate current prac­tice and strengths to de­vise an ac­tion plan to pro­mote, pro­tect and sup­port breast­feed­ing in La­nark­shire.

“The breast­feed­ing sum­mit was an op­por­tu­nity to bring peo­ple to­gether to re­ally un­der­stand the chal­lenges faced by fam­i­lies and the bar­ri­ers that pre­vent breast­feed­ing in La­nark­shire.

“It was also a chance to con­sider UNICEF’S call to ac­tion to ‘change the con­ver­sa­tion’; to stop lay­ing the blame for a ma­jor pub­lic health is­sue in the laps of in­di­vid­ual women and ac­knowl­edge the col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity of us all.”

Ev­ery­one who at­tended the event was asked to make their own per­sonal pledge to take what­ever steps they can to pro­mote, pro­tect and sup­port breast­feed­ing.

The aim is to make La­nark­shire a place where breast­feed­ing is the norm and build a sup­port­ive com­mu­nity around fam­i­lies to sup­port breast­feed­ing.

Su­san Short, NHS La­nark­shire pub­lic health nu­tri­tion­ist, said: “How ba­bies are fed is one of the most im­por­tant de­ci­sions par­ents can make, as it has life-long im­pli­ca­tions for both mother and baby.

“Chil­dren who are breast­fed for longer pe­ri­ods have higher in­tel­li­gence, fewer in­fec­tions, fewer den­tal prob­lems and are less likely to be over­weight or di­a­betic in later life. For women, breast­feed­ing pro­tects against breast and ovar­ian cancer and di­a­betes.

“Breast­feed­ing pro­tec­tion is im­por­tant in rich and poor coun­tries alike and helps to nar­row the health in­equal­i­ties gap. The cost to the NHS ev­ery year of treat­ing just five ill­nesses re­sult­ing from for­mula feed­ing is £48 mil­lion.

“This is why we are working hard to en­sure moth­ers know that when it comes to breast­feed­ing; help is at hand. We have the in­for­ma­tion and sup­port that fam­i­lies need to start and con­tinue breast­feed­ing.”

More than 50 premises in Hamil­ton, and an­other 500 across La­nark­shire, have gained the Breast­feed­ing Wel­come Award from NHS La­nark­shire.

The ‘breast­feed­ing wel­come’ sign in venues such as a li­braries, cafes, shop­ping and leisure cen­tres can help mums feel so much more con­fi­dent and com­fort­able about feed­ing when out and about.

And the premises that par­tic­i­pate all hope they cab help re­move bar­ri­ers and cre­ate a sup­port­ive, en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for women who choose to breast­feed.

The Hamil­ton Breast­feed­ing Group is held weekly at Fairhill Lifestyle Cen­tre, Neil­s­land Road, on Tues­days from 1.30pm to 2.30pm.

All breast­feed­ing mums are wel­come to the group which of­fers a so­cia­ble, friendly place to get ad­vice and sup­port. To find a list of breast­feed­ing wel­come premises, visit www.face­­nark­shire­breast­feedingini­tia­tive

Sum­mit­the health chiefs from NHS La­nark­shire

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