Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Times, Are They A' Changin'?

Leeds is bidding to become the first breastfeeding friendly city in England.

NHS Leeds has been working with local mums to discover what barriers they face when looking to breastfeed their babies in public. Now the Leeds NHS is directing its attention to the residents of the city, working with them and local businesses to create an environment in which breastfeeding mums are welcomed, supported and made to feel comfortable.

John Lawlor, Chief Executive for NHS Leeds, says: “It is really important that mums are given all the support they need when feeding their children. I’m delighted that all NHS trusts in the city and Leeds City Council are supporting this initiative so that we can proudly claim that Leeds is Breastfeeding Friendly. Now we need the support of local businesses and community organisations. All they need to do is sign up to the scheme and receive a free resource pack including display materials.”

The NHS is rigorous in its backing of any scheme that promotes breastfeeding. Breastfeeding brings a wide range of health benefits to both babies and mums: fewer infections and protection against conditions such as obesity and diabetes in later life for babies; easier weight loss and protection against some forms of cancer for mums. The better health that results from breastfeeding results in fewer doctors’ appointments and hospital admissions. This results in huge costs savings for the NHS which can be directed to other services.

Although this may sound like a lofty ambition, local officials have passionately supported the campaign. In taking part, local businesses can help make a difference to the lives of mums and babies across the city. It is free for businesses to join and a resource pack is provided. Tom Riordan, Chief Executive for Leeds City Council, confirms his support for the campaign: “Leeds City Council has been working with the National Childbirth Trust for a number of years to make sure that all our facilities are welcoming environments for breastfeeding mums. Our support for the Leeds Breastfeeding Friendly campaign confirms our commitment to mums and babies in the city.”

Unlike previous campaigns elsewhere, Leeds Breastfeeding Friendly has been developed in partnership with local mums. Utilising the experience of breastfeeding mothers in the area, the campaign is backed by parents passionate about the cause. Leeds already has a low breastfeeding rate. Perhaps because breastfeeding is least common in more disadvantaged areas, increasing breastfeeding in public places could make a significant difference to health and wellbeing within some of the most disadvantaged communities in Leeds.

If you are a business owner based in Leeds, it costs nothing to support the campaign and to become Breastfeeding Friendly?

All the campaign is looking for you to do is:

• Display the Breastfeeding Friendly Leeds campaign materials in your venue to let mums know you are breastfeeding friendly;
• Ensure you and your staff actively welcome breastfeeding mums and allow them to breastfeed in all public areas; and
• Educate staff in the benefits of breastfeeding and how to deal with members of the public who are negative towards breastfeeding mums either vocally or through their behaviour.

Only by taking these few small steps can we change attitudes towards breastfeeding in public. To help local mums find out where Breastfeeding Friendly venues are in Leeds a dedicated website has been set up:


  1. There don't seem to be many places posted on the website. Maybe it would be an idea to have mums post locations where they feel they have been welcomed as a nursing mum and then they could be approached re displaying posters. Also how about getting mums to review them. I've felt very welcome in the following places, in fact, staff have gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable eg by offering a glass of water in:
    The reliance bar - north street
    M & S cafe - city centre
    Pret a manger - city centre
    Anthonys - corn exchange
    Cafe Nero - chapel Allerton
    Arts cafe - the calls
    Sky lounge - mint hotel
    Aagrar restaurant - city centre

    I felt uncomfortable in 7 in

    Anthonys corn exchange

  2. Problems with iPhone - comment above should read uncomfortable in 7 in chapel Allerton. Anthonys were really great and offered me a glass of water.


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