Barnsley Council will be promoting Public Health England’s Breastfeeding Celebration Week (1-7 June) which aims to support breastfeeding during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Barnsley has a dedicated Infant Feeding Team that works five days a week to provide information and support to new mums living in the borough, as part of the wider Public Health Nursing Service.
During the Covid-19 period the service is continuing to provide high quality support although in a different way.
As well as supporting women over the phone and through text messaging, the Infant Feeding Team has worked hard over the last few weeks to maintain a positive presence on social media - with their Facebook page now reaching over 2,500 followers.
The page shares motivational messages, research articles and informative video clips that aim to help Barnsley mums get breastfeeding off to a good start and support them throughout their breastfeeding journey, especially when they feel they are struggling.
In addition, a virtual antenatal infant feeding group has recently been set up for pregnant women to gain information and meet other parents – regardless of their feeding choice – enabling them to develop their peer support networks.
This online support is even more important during the current crisis, when many mums will not have the physical and social support of family and friends and the usual baby groups and clinics, where they would meet other mums, are not currently operating.
One Facebook user commented, “Amazing service even in the current situation. Special thanks to Janine for her support over the phone with at least one call a week for the past six weeks. All my questions have been answered promptly either by phone or on Facebook and support has been fantastic. Thank you so much!”
As well as celebrating breastfeeding support services during the pandemic, Barnsley Council and Barnsley Hospital are celebrating being recently reaccredited by Unicef and again receiving the prestigious Baby Friendly award - a nationally recognised mark of quality care.
First awarded in Barnsley in 2010, the accreditation programme is now recognised and recommended in numerous government and policy documents across all four UK nations, including the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance.
The Baby Friendly standards support feeding and relationship-building for all mothers and babies, whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, recognising the importance of the mother-baby relationship as the basis on which all other relationships are built.
Julia Burrows (Director of Public Health and Breastfeeding Guardian, Barnsley Council) said: “Our Public Health Nursing Service and Family Centre staff have worked so hard to maintain the high standards set by Baby Friendly. We are proud of the high quality care delivered by these services, which means that more women in Barnsley feel supported to start and continue breastfeeding, which will be of great value to both the baby and their mothers, both now and into their futures.”
The Barnsley Infant Feeding Team’s Facebook page is available here - https://www.facebook.com/barnsleyinfantfeedingteam/