Forgewood Community Centre in Motherwell has become one of the first businesses in Lanarkshire to join the new Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland (BFS) Scheme. With the support of NHS Lanarkshire the centre will help to promote, support and protect the rights of mothers who want to breastfeed in public places.
The BFS scheme is being rolled out nationally by the Scottish Government. It will replace, and build on the success of, NHS Lanarkshire’s former breastfeeding welcome initiative.
Lanarkshire currently reports some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Scotland. Around half (50.3%) of mothers choose to breastfeed, dropping to less than one in three (28.6%) after 6-8 weeks. A contributing factor can be that women feel inhibited to breastfeed outside of the home.
In Scotland, all babies are protected by law and it is an offence to prevent a baby from being fed milk in a public place. Wherever families see the “Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland” logo and signage, they know that staff are aware of their obligation under the law, and can be assured of an extra warm welcome. Membership of the scheme demonstrates the business understands and accommodates the needs of breastfeeding families.
AnneMarie Bruce, Infant Feeding Development Midwife at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “Our aim is always to ensure that mothers and babies have the support they require from the NHS. Regardless of how they feed, responsive parenting and feeding are encouraged.
“UNICEF Babyfriendly found that 80 percent of women stopped breastfeeding before they wanted to. In Lanarkshire, we want to normalise breastfeeding and change the culture and the conversation so that we create an environment that is supportive of breastfeeding, wherever mothers may be. We hope that by promoting safe environments for breastfeeding outside the home through the BFS Scheme, more women will feel comfortable and continue to breastfed for as long as they wish.”
Delighted to sign up to the BFS scheme, Paul Lennon, Deputy Director of Forgewood Community Centre, said:
“The centre a well-used community hub with a wide ranges of activities for people of all ages. It is popular with young families and we want breastfeeding mums to feel welcome and comfortable in our environment.
“The Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland scheme is a really good idea and we hope that more organisations and public spaces will sign up so that women know they will be supported and feel comfortable when breastfeeding out and about in the community.
“Being in an area of deprivation where breastfeeding rates are traditionally low we hope that by supporting the scheme we can help change this. Signing up to the scheme has also reminded us of our responsibility as an employer to support staff who are breastfeeding.”
Businesses interested in joining the BFS Scheme can receive more information by contacting BreastfeedingFriendlyScotlandLanarkshire@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk.