Lancashire County Council is joining forces with local organisation Families and Babies (FAB), who will deliver its new countywide breastfeeding support service from 1 April 2018.
Breastfeeding peer support is offered to new mums who want to breastfeed. It supports them in hospital, at home and in the community.
The service will provide bedside support on maternity wards, home visits, phone and text message advice, as well as training for people who want to become peer support volunteers.
It also includes a scheme to sign up more shops, cafes and other community venues as breastfeeding friendly places.
County Councillor Shaun Turner, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Research has shown how important breastfeeding is for the health of mothers and their children.
“Our peer support service helps to develop a supportive infant feeding community where mothers can breastfeed for as long as they wish.
“FAB will deliver one service, giving the same support to new mums right across the county. We’re pleased to be working with FAB to improve the health of mothers and their children.
“The peer support, along with the infant feeding support service at our children’s centres, which was accredited with UNICEF Baby Friendly status last year, are a key part of our plans to encourage more mums to breastfeed.”
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire County Council, said: “Breastfeeding boosts a child’s immune system, so breastfed babies are far less likely to suffer gastroenteritis or respiratory conditions.
“Breastfeeding also improves the bond between mothers and their child and can help children and mothers to maintain a healthy weight.
“Mothers who breastfeed have improved mental health and a lower risk of developing some cancers.
“It’s crucial that mums who want to breastfeed get good support at hospital in the first few days of a child’s life and that this continues when they go home.
“It’s also important to ensure there are places where mums feel comfortable breastfeeding when they’re out and about.
“The FAB peer support service will help new mums and their children enjoy these health benefits and is a crucial part of our plans to provide infant feeding support and ensure children have a healthy start to life.”
Elaine Edwards, chair of FAB, said: “We are now in our 11th year of being a driving force in Peer Support services for families in Central Lancashire and we are keen to continue to expand this service across North and East Lancashire.
“Provision will focus upon early support principles with contact from peer support being offered within the first 48 hours after birth, with home visits being available after the initial midwifery visit.”
Marie Longworth, Operations Manager of FAB, added: “We are extremely proud to provide a valued peer support service. We know how effective peer support can be alongside health professionals.
“It is our aim to support mothers with breastfeeding from the birth of their child through to six or eight weeks in a variety of ways, which include on maternity wards, through home visits, community breastfeeding groups, and by telephone and weekly text support.”