Caring hospital workers have volunteered to become Staff Breastfeeding Champions and support colleagues returning to work after maternity.
Starting this month, Sarah Cordey, Kirsty Hartley, Katy Beck, Donna Butler, Lucy Coulson, Elizabeth Devey, Sue Henry, Dr Ruth Smith and Matron Tracy Thompson will be using their knowledge, training and experience to encourage mums at the Trust – including new recruits - to breastfeed their newborns for at least six months or longer if they wish.
They want to offer as much guidance and support as possible so mothers feel empowered to continue breastfeeding, through the good days and through any difficulties.
Sue Henry, ELHT Baby Friendly team manager, said: “As a mother, grandmother and a trained breastfeeding supporter I know how important breastfeeding is to those who want to do it. There are huge health benefits to both baby and mum, and also the Trust, from an initiative that is essentially free to do.”
Nine in every 10 UK women who stop breastfeeding in the first few weeks give up before they want to. And the main reason they state is lack of support.
Each Staff Breastfeeding Champion has received specialist training in breastfeeding support and will now share this knowledge with their colleagues working in the Trust’s five hospitals and community health facilities across East Lancashire.
ELHT’s UNICEF Baby Friendly Guardian, Mrs Rineke Schram, said: “We hope that delivering more breastfeeding support will result in increased breastfeeding rates among our staff and consequently better health in babies and mums.”
Last year, ELHT received the prestigious Baby Friendly Initiative Gold Standard from the United Nations Children’s Fund UK (Unicef). The accolade was in recognition of the excellent advice and support families with new babies in East Lancashire receives around nurturing and feeding their babies.