Campaign to boost town breastfeeding

WORTHING welcomes breastfeeding mothers – that is the message one councillor is pushing as part of a new campaign.

Marine councillor Edward Crouch wants businesses to sign up to the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme after he discovered no venues took part.

He hopes the campaign will ultimately encourage more mums into breastfeeding.

Mr Crouch said: “Worthing is an inclusive place, but following recent news coverage I was surprised to see no venues in town signed up the BFW scheme. “After speaking to local mums, community groups and health professionals, it was clear that some mums, especially first-time mums, know they are allowed to breastfeed anywhere as it is protected by law, but do not always feel confident to do so.”

The national scheme urges public buildings to prominently display a pink and white sticker, stating ‘you are welcome to breastfeed your baby here’. Those signed up to the scheme are listed on its website.

After launching the campaign on Facebook, Mr Crouch’s first port of call was to enlist the support of Worthing Borough Council.

It pledged its support and the director for customer service will provide a decision report, detailing the scheme’s implementation, by the end of January.

Cabinet member for health and wellbeing Val Turner said: “I welcome this request. As a former breastfeeding mother, I appreciate the difficulties and the problems that they have.”

Mr Crouch said he was delighted to see the council taking a lead on the issue and hoped to increase the town’s breastfeeding rate by 20 per cent by continued campaigning.

He said: “By Worthing Borough Council taking a lead and working with local business, we can, using a nationally recognised scheme, lead the way in actively welcoming mums to breastfeed in the businesses and venues which sign up.

“In addition to the above, there are real health benefits to breastfeeding for mum and baby alike, as well as saving the cost of formula milk.”

Reacting to the scheme, Worthing town centre manager Sharon Clarke explained many firms were already welcoming of breastfeeding but welcomed the opportunity to publicise the message.

She said: “Worthing is a forward-thinking community town and I know that the businesses would want to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome.

“Schemes like this help mums to feel comfortable as they know they will be able to breast-feed without having to ask and it helps businesses attract new customers.”

Breastfeeding hit the headlines in recent weeks after Claridge’s, in London, were reported to have asked a mother to cover up while feeding.

The row was further inflated when UKIP leader Nigel Farage remarked businesses may ask mothers to ‘perhaps sit in a corner’.

He later said the media had ‘misrepresented’ him and insisted he had no problem with women breastfeeding.

It was these issues which prompted Mr Crouch to start the campaign.

For more information about the breastfeeding Welcome scheme, visit www.breast feedingwelcomescheme.org.uk