Launch of new breastfeeding initiative in Northants

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The importance of breastfeeding will be highlighted at an event this week.

Public health, which became part of Northamptonshire County Council in April, has organised the event tomorrow (Wednesday) to raise the profile of the Baby Friendly Initiative.

The Baby Friendly Initiative is a worldwide programme of the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.

It works with public services to protect, promote and support breastfeeding and to strengthen mother-baby and family relationships.

The event will launch the scheme to the wider community, to raise support for achieving Baby Friendly status in the county and to encourage organisations to make changes so that mothers and babies are supported to start breastfeeding, and continue breastfeeding, at the right time and in the right way.

The event will include a presentation by UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative director Sue Ashmore.

Various organisations are set to attend, including representatives from county children’s centres, the Northamptonshire Breastfeeding Alliance, health visitors, GPs, children’s services at the county council, councillors, and from public health itself.

County council cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, Cllr Robin Brown said: “We recognise the benefits of breastfeeding and the positive impact it has on babies, helping to ensure they have fewer health problems and experience better health later in life.

“That’s why increasing breastfeeding is a key part of the county’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

“Achieving Baby Friendly status is an important part of this, and by working toward this goal we will be raising awareness of the importance of breastfeeding for both mothers and their babies, and ensure that mothers get the support they need to breastfeed for as long as possible.

“This event will be an opportunity for organisations across the county to learn about the Baby Friendly Initiative and how they can support this ambition.”

The most recent published breastfeeding initiation rate for Northamptonshire was 75.8 per cent, which is just above the national England average of 74 per cent.

There is a drop off from initiation to six to eight weeks, when the rate is 44.8 per cent, which drops below the national England average of 47.2 per cent.