Rotherham embraces empowering campaign to become an official breastfeeding friendly borough
Representatives from Rotherham’s Health and Wellbeing Board – including Rotherham Council, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, and other health partners – pledged their support to make Rotherham a breastfeeding friendly borough at a launch event by signing the Supporting a Breastfeeding Friendly Borough Declaration.
Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust also launched the Rotherham Backs Breastfeeding campaign to promote advice, guidance and support services for new mums and families to ensure they have the information and confidence they need.
Breastfeeding provides mums and babies with a range of benefits, including helping build the bond between mother and baby and supporting the child’s development.
The campaign has been welcomed by Rotherham mums including one who said: “It’s going to be so helpful for mums to not be afraid, to be empowered, to do it wherever they want and to know what they’re doing is right.”
A Health and Wellbeing board meeting in June heard the current breastfeeding rate at six to eight weeks after birth is 37.5 per cent in Rotherham – an increase from 34.2 per cent in 2020/21, but still significantly lower than the England average of nearly half of mums at 49.2 per cent.
Cabinet member for adult care and public health, Cllr David Roche, said: “The council believes that mums should be able to breastfeed as long as they want to and will be working with partners and businesses across the borough to support and advise them how they can support mums.”
Vicky Wilkinson, from Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust’s Infant Feeding Team, said: “We do hear occasional stories of women being challenged for breastfeeding in public spaces which can have a huge impact on a mum’s confidence and have an adverse effect on their, and their baby’s health.
“We are working with residents and businesses to take away the stigma around breastfeeding.”
She added: “We believe that every mum should be able to breastfeed whenever she needs to without fear of being challenged or shamed.”