Businesses back support for new mothers to breastfeed on premises

Aug 10, 2019

A CAMPAIGN encouraging mothers to become more confident when breastfeeding in public has taken off in Bedford.

The Bedfordshire #FreeToFeed campaign, run by NHS community services and local authorities, is encouraging businesses to help new mothers to feel comfortable feeding their children when out and about.

Thanks to collaboration between Bedford BID and Bedfordshire Community Services NHS, 14 businesses have already signed up to the campaign.

“Families have the right to enjoy our town and its great many family-friendly businesses so we are glad to see many of them embrace this important campaign and support the health and happiness of their customers,” said Bedford BID’s director of operations Christina Rowe.

“We hope this is just the beginning and invite other Bedford businesses to join the campaign.”

The campaign is also encouraging mothers and families to review businesses and venues on Breastfeeding Hub, a smartphone app which allows them to leave a rating for how breastfeeding friendly a place was, as well as accessing breastfeeding support and information.

“Bedford BID is proud to support the #FreeToFeed campaign because we want to make sure mothers and their children have every opportunity to feel comfortable and confident breastfeeding around Bedford,” said Ms Rowe.

The #FreeToFeed campaign, launched to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week last week (August 1-7) is under way because rates of breastfeeding, which protects children from illness and reduces mothers’ risk of certain cancers, are declining across England.

Public Health England recommends breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life but its figures show that  only 55 per cent of residents in Bedford borough are breastfeeding six to eight weeks after their child’s birth. 

The international children’s charity UNICEF estimatesthat 80pc of UK mums stop breastfeeding before they want to, often due to lack of support. Normalising breastfeeding and making it as easy as possible for mothers is an important part of encouraging more families to choose to breastfeed for longer.

For more about the campaign and how to take part, visit the #FreeToFeed webpage or search the hashtag on social media. To find out more about NHS support available in Bedford and across Bedfordshire, visit the Bedfordshire Community Services NHS baby friendly team pages 

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