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Mums in Norfolk will receive more help and support with breastfeeding from the NHS.
NHS Norfolk has been training people across the county, including GPs, nursery workers and volunteers to answer any questions and show new mums how to breastfeed properly. It has been launched this week to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week.
NHS Norfolk is working towards achieving the UNICEF “Baby Friendly” standard of care for infant feeding. UNICEF’s “Baby Friendly” project started nine months ago in Norfolk and since its launch 180 people have received training. The worldwide initiative works with health-care systems to ensure a high standard of care for pregnant woman and breastfeeding mothers and babies.
It has all been made possible by the Department of Health, who gave NHS Norfolk £99,000 to help fund its breastfeeding programme.
Deborah Garrod, NHS Norfolk’s Maternal, Infant Nutrition and Breastfeeding Co-ordinator, said: “Whilst we strongly encourage breastfeeding as the recommended way to feed a baby, our mission at NHS Norfolk is to make it easier for all mums to obtain the information they need to make an informed choice and then support them in their choice, whatever that may be.
"We are not only training midwives - health visitors, maternity care assistants, family support workers, children's centre staff and volunteers are receiving training too. We are keen to work with more GPs and practice nurses , and would advise anyone working with mothers and babies and interested in taking part in the UNICEF Baby Friendly training to contact us."
NHS Norfolk promotes breast feeding as the best way for a mother and child but say they are committed to supporting woman in whatever way they choose to feed their babies.
Lucy Macleod, NHS Norfolk's Consultant in Public Health, said: "Research suggests that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of having stomach bugs, chest infections, asthma, eczema, and allergies. Also, children who are breastfed are thought to be less likely to be obese when they get older.
“Mothers also benefit from developing a strong emotional bond with their child, and can have a reduced risk of pre-menopausal breast and ovarian cancers. They are also less likely to suffer hip fractures in later life.”