|A new web-based app will give new mums the support they need through the early weeks of breastfeeding.
The app is part of the ‘Six Week Breastfeeding Challenge’, developed by Lancashire County Council and the county’s Lancashire Infant Feeding Partnership, which encourages new mums to continue breastfeeding after the first six weeks, because of the advantages this brings.
Evidence shows that the longer a mum breastfeeds for, there are increased health benefits for both mum and baby.
In Lancashire, around 69% of mums breastfeed when their babies are first born, but this drops to around 32% (significantly lower than the England average of 46%) by the time the baby is six to eight weeks old. An aim of this app is to promote an increase in these rates.
By signing up to the Six Week Breastfeeding Challenge mums will access a special website app which will help support them through the important first six weeks of breastfeeding.
The app will help mums track their progress through the challenge, provide answers to the most commonly asked breastfeeding questions, provide access to support and guidance, log feeds and nappy changes easily and read tips from other mums.
County Councillor Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing said: “We know that mums are aware of the health benefits of breastfeeding and it’s encouraging that more than two thirds of new mums in Lancashire are choosing to breastfeed.
“Breastfeeding gives babies the best possible start in life and we want to make mums aware of the support available to help them get started and to keep going past the first few weeks. The challenge aims to give mums a helping hand when they need it most, making sure they know where to turn for help.”
Dawn Burrows, Chair of the Lancashire Infant Feeding Partnership said: “We know that breastfeeding can sometimes be a challenge for both mum and baby, especially in those early days. It can be exhausting particularly in getting baby to properly latch on or knowing whether baby is getting enough milk. We also know from talking to mums that with the right help and support mums are more likely to carry on breastfeeding for longer.
“Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to six months, which can often seem daunting for mums. This is why we’re encouraging mums to sign up to a smaller goal of the six week challenge.
“The website includes advice from real life mums and tips to overcome the most common challenges. There’s also a handy tracker to help mums see their progress through their journey.”
Mums who want to continue breastfeeding but are struggling should get in touch with their midwife, health visitor, peer supporter or local children’s centre, who are all on hand to provide support and advice.
As well as posters which will be displayed in children’s centres, GP surgeries and hospital maternity wards, leaflets about the challenge will be handed out by health visitors. A social media campaign will also run on Facebook.
To download the app visit www.breastfeedingchallenge.co.uk
Mums are invited to share their breastfeeding tips or how they are doing with Six Week Breastfeeding Challenge by using #breastfeedingchallenge on Twitter or Facebook.