Support for Carlisle’s first breastfeeding cafe
Last updated at 14:26, Thursday, 23 June 2011
Carlisle’s first breastfeeding cafe is helping new mums by playing host to weekly support sessions.
The aim of the cafe it to change public opinion, getting more people to see it as the norm and give mums more confidence feeding their babies in public.
To mark Breastfeeding Awareness Week, infant feeding coordinator Helen Ferris wants to spread the word about the cafe and other support groups.
She hopes that knowing help is out there will encourage more new mums to consider breastfeeding their children.
“By holding the support group in a cafe environment we are moving away from closed environments and integrating breastfeeding as being normal within the local community,” she said.
“I thought we’d get a few raised eyebrows but people have been absolutely fine about it. It’s been great.”
The group meets every Wednesday from 1pm to 2.30pm. Mums can also bring along their other youngsters and it has become a real social event for new parents.
In the past six years, Helen has seen the breastfeeding rate in Carlisle rise from just over half of all mothers to more than 70 per cent. She believes this is largely down to the improved support available, meaning mums can get together with those who have been through it and talk about problems and share tips.
Each group has its own peer support workers, who have signed up after breastfeeding their own children.
At Petteril Bank they include Sarah England, 40, of London Road, who has two children, five-year-old Benjamin and Estella, two.
She breast fed both, despite family and friends trying to persuade her to use bottles. “It was something I really wanted to do but I did find it really hard at first. I started to go to the breastfeeding group and without it I would probably have given up, but I’m so glad I didn’t,” she said.
Sarah says she notices the difference and believes her children have better immunity to illness because of it.
Helen said the support available has been further boosted after funding was secured to employ two volunteer supporters on a part time basis, Wendy Tate and Lindsey Russell.
Mum-of-three Wendy, 38, of Stanwix, said she would encourage all new mums or mums-to-be to give breastfeeding a try. “There is help out there if you find it difficult. Often my job is just a kind word when someone’s having a bad day,” she said.
To coincide with Breastfeeding Awareness Week, Helen and Wendy will be offering support and answering questions about breastfeeding at Mothercare in Carlisle on Friday from 9.30am to 11.30am.
A teddy bears’ picnic is also taking place that afternoon at the city’s Morton Manor.
To find out more about the support groups contact Helen Ferris on 01228 814269 or email email@example.com.
First published at 11:29, Thursday, 23 June 2011
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk