This World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August), health organisations in Sefton are reassuring new parents that there is still infant feeding support available during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Breastfeeding is scientifically proven to have several benefits to both mother and baby. Studies show that breastfeeding can:
- help babies fight infections and illnesses
- help strengthen the bond between mother and baby
- lower the risk of diabetes, osteoporosis, and breast cancer
- burn up to 300 calories a day.
More than 81% of women in the UK start breastfeeding, and 17% of babies are still exclusively breastfed at 3 months.
Jane Lunt, interim chief nurse for NHS South Sefton and Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “Any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial, we recommend for optimum growth and development that babies are given nothing but breast milk for the first 6 months (26 weeks) of their life but we know that this is not always possible.
“Whether you are breastfeeding or using first infant formula we aim to ensure that however you feed your baby, you feel supported in your choice and are enabled to do so in an informed way.
“If you have any problems or concerns with breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, it is important to ask for help from your midwife, health visitor or breastfeeding specialist.”
Charlotte Smith, Consultant in public health for Sefton, said: “We know that this can be a particularly worrisome time for new families but there are simple steps you can take to help protect your new family. These steps include, washing your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after touching your baby, routinely disinfecting surfaces and cleaning infant feeding equipment after every use.
“World Breastfeeding Week is a brilliant opportunity to remind mothers and parents in Sefton that infant feeding advice and support is available.”
Infant feeding support and advice available:
Led by volunteers, the Sefton Breastfeeding Support Service provides practical and emotional support to expectant and new mothers – call 07921 388 535 or 0151 291 8010 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
The National Breastfeeding Helpline can be reached on 0300 100 0212 from 9:30am to 9:30pm every day. The Start4Life Breastfeeding Friend chatbot is also available any time day or night for fast, friendly, trusted NHS advice.”
If you have any questions, concerns, or need some advice (whether you are breastfeeding or using first infant formula), call the NCT helpline (0300 330 0700).
For NHS Coronavirus advice for parents, visit: www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/coronavirus-covid19-advice-for-parents
For NHS information about the benefits of breastfeeding, visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/benefits-breastfeeding
For NHS advice and guidance about bottle-feeding, visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/bottle-feeding-advice