09 November 2017
Breastfeeding mothers in Jersey are calling for more support from employers when they return back to work and better facilities to feed their babies when out and about in public places.
Minister for Home Affairs Kristina Moore met mothers this week to hear their experiences about breastfeeding.
The minister, who also has responsibility for the 1,001 Critical Days initiative, which focuses on the development of children in their early years, was given the role as breastfeeding champion for the States of Jersey earlier this year.
Benefits of breastfeeding
There are well-evidenced long-term health benefits gained by breastfed babies, which include:
- reduced rates of many infectious and immunological diseases
- reduced rates of some cancers
- better cardiovascular health
- reduced rates of obesity
- reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
Deputy Moore visited a new mother and her baby at home during a health visit with Family Nursing and Home Care and also joined mothers at Breastfeeding Buddies group in Communicare on Tuesday 7 November 2017.
Deputy Moore said that it was an honour to meet all the mothers and thanked them for sharing their open and honest experiences.
“Breastfeeding Buddies is a fantastic group that offers a wonderful support for new mothers to share tips and stories,’ said Deputy Moore.
“From speaking to the mothers it appears breastfeeding rates are increasing and attitudes towards breastfeeding in public appear to have improved, which is fantastic and shows that progress in this area has been made, but there is still a lot more to do.”
Deputy Moore spoke to all of the mothers at the group who shared similar concerns about going back to work and having better facilities in public places to feed their babies when they are out and about.
“Some mothers were worrying about going back to work at an early stage. This can put a woman off breastfeeding altogether as they put a lot of effort and time into establishing the feeding and become worried about the difficulties of then stopping to go back to work.
“I hope that we can encourage employers to consider these matters and meet with new mothers, before they return to work, to assess their needs and discuss whether private areas in the workplace can be made available for the mother to express milk or feed baby on a break.
“This is an important matter to consider as concerns about going back to work can cause unnecessary stress and impact on the mother’s wellbeing, which has a negative impact on their ability to work.”
Breastfeeding Buddies runs every Tuesday from 11 am – 1 pm at Communicare, St Brelade. Family Nursing and Home Care Health visitor Jan Ison is the facilitator for Breastfeeding Buddies.
There has been a lot of work done to encourage breastfeeding led by a multiagency working group, chaired by Family Nursing and Home Care Health Visiting Service, and supported by the Health and Social Services Maternity and Special Care Baby Unit, the Jersey Child Care Trust and the National Childbirth Trust. This group has developed an action plan based on baby-friendly standards set by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).