An ambitious new Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme (BFWS) is being launched in Aberdeen to make sure nursing mums can feed their infants in with confidence in city shops and cafes.
More than 60 city centre businesses have so far signed up for the scheme, which aims to give mums a choice of safe, secure and supportive places where they can breastfeed if they want.
Businesses range from shops, restaurants and cinemas to cafes and organisations, with the newest recruits around the beach area, Union Street and Belmont Street – and more are being encouraged to join.
Aberdeen breastfeeding rates are better than some parts of Scotland – but figures show that after the first few weeks the rate quickly declines. Some 45% of mums breastfeed initially but the figure drops to just 36% by weeks six to eight.
The NHS project, which is being led by the Aberdeen Public Health Team, supported by the Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership, also aims to make mums aware of the support which is available to help them to breastfeed as long as they would like, if they so choose – including while they are out and about.
Where a mother sees the ‘Breastfeeding Welcome’ logo they can be reassured that staff will be welcoming and supportive of their right to breastfeed on the premises.
Public Health dietician Jenny Gordon, who has led the development of the scheme, said: “The scheme is a great way for businesses to support breastfeeding mothers on their premises. Being a member of the BFWS reinforces a business’s family-friendly image and helps educate the staff about the laws surrounding breastfeeding."
Mum Jayne MacNab said: “I am sure that nursing mothers across the North-east will warmly welcome the Aberdeen Breastfeeding Welcome scheme. We really need a choice of supportive places in which to breastfeed with confidence and this scheme has provided exactly that."
Businesses and organisations which are part of the scheme will display a breastfeeding welcome scheme logo on a sticker or poster, and their details are added to the Breastfeed Grampian Face book page and website.