The Western Trust is launching a new campaign encouraging everyone to show support for mothers breast-feeding in public.
A number of local events are to be staged to celebrate World Breast-feeding Week, which takes place from August 1 to 7, and to challenge perceptions around social acceptability.
Shauna O’Rourke, Western Trust Breast-feeding Coordinator said: “With only 7% of babies in Northern Ireland still being breast-fed at 12 months it is important that we continue to support mums and encourage acceptability of breast-feeding through campaign promotion like this and using the range of support available throughout the Western Trust.
“Breast-feeding is vitally important for both mother and baby. Breast milk contains everything a baby needs for healthy growth and development, providing the best possible start in life.
“It reduces the risk of infection, allergies and childhood diabetes and at the same time developing a close bond between mother and baby.”
During World Breast-feeding Week, Health Development Workers from the Neighbourhood Health Improvement Project (NHIP) are hosting a number of events to include Family Coffee mornings on Friday, August 4 from 10am to 12pm in Brooke Park, Derry and from 10am to 1pm in Roe Valley Leisure Centre, Limavady. The coffee mornings will have fun activities for kids. Altnagelvin Hospital meanwhile is also hosting a quiz for staff and patients on breast-feeding.
The Western Trust said they are committed to supporting breast-feeding, and said that if a mother feels supported by family and the wider community she is likely to breast-feed for longer.
For additional information about breast-feeding or breast-feeding activities within your area, contact your midwife, health visitor or breast-feeding support group. More information can also be found on www.breastfedbabies.org or www.westerntrust.hscni.net.