Liverpool is launching a charter mark for shops and businesses that are breast feeding friendly.
The first 10 firms are being granted the ‘Breastfeeding Mayoral Quality Mark’ after councillors recently unanimously approved a motion proposing its introduction.
Cafes and restaurants and are among those to have signed up to a 10 point plan which includes:
• Allow breastfeeding in all public areas
• Making private areas available for feeding where possible
• Offering mums a free drink of water or tea/coffee
• Promoting support services for breastfeeding
Each business will receive a certificate and a badge that they can place in their window or door to let customers know they are breast feeding friendly.
Deputy Mayor, Cllr Ann O’Byrne, said: “The law is clear that mums can breastfeed anywhere, but we know that some are reluctant to do so because they are not sure if there will be objections from staff or customers.
“Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, and the aim of our Quality Mark is to give them reassurance and certainty that the business they are entering welcomes mums and will do everything they can to ensure they can feed in comfort.”
Liverpool is seeing an increase in breastfeeding rates, but still lags behind the national average.
A total of 53 percent of new mums feed naturally, compared to 74 percent elsewhere, dropping to 32 percent at six to eight weeks against 44 percent across the rest of the country.
The city’s peer support group for breastfeeding, Liverpool Bambis – who are based at and managed by Wavertree, Childwall and Woolton Children’s Centre – has supported 16,000 mums over the last five years.
Sarah Todd, Liverpool Bambis Coordinator, said: “Breast feeding, even a short period of time, gives children the very best start in life.
“It has numerous health benefits for both mum and baby, which is why we work so hard to support mums to achieve their own breastfeeding goals.
We are delighted with the Mayoral Quality Mark as it will have a positive impact on promoting breastfeeding in our city.”
The launch is taking place at 10am on Tuesday 5 September at Wigwam Coffee Shop on Rose Lane in Mossley Hill – which has become the first business to secure the Quality Mark.
Owner Sue Kelbrick said: “We are delighted to be involved with this initiative.
“We pride ourselves on not only providing a safe and welcoming environment for mums to breastfeed but also actively encouraging breastfeeding through our weekly Bambis’ sessions.
“No one should ever be made to feel uncomfortable doing what is the most natural thing in the world, and we will be displaying the council’s Quality Mark with pride to prove our support for breastfeeding.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that mother’s breastfeed infants for the first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health. The advantages include:
• Strengthening the physical and emotional bond between mum and baby
• Protecting the baby from infections and reduces the risk of eczema and diabetes
• Protecting the mother against ovarian and breast cancers and weak bones in later life
• Helps the mother return to their pre-pregnancy figure faster