More support for breastfeeding mums

1 August 2018, 15:14 | Updated: 1 August 2018, 15:18


New mums here are getting some extra support to breastfeed.

A 24/7 Breastfeeding Friend has started on Google Assistant to support mums in the region. 

This as figures show fewer than half of babies are breastfed at 6-8 weeks.

The Start4Life programme has helpful advice for parents during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. 

Mum Catherine Davies said: ''I have breastfed both my children but found breastfeeding for the first time with my daughter difficult, she had problems latching on and the only way I could breastfeed was sat up which was quite painful after a traumatic labour. 

''The situation became really emotionally stressful and I found the first 4- 6 weeks hard, I think the situation is made worse because after having a baby you are in a fragile and hormonal place anyway, but looking back it was only for the first few weeks. 

''I found support from those around me particularly helpful, my husband, my sister, the GP and the hospital midwife were excellent. I think it is important to ask for help from lots of different places, for me, the GP and family were great. 

''I am so pleased that I got through that first stage as after 4-6 weeks I loved breastfeeding and I found the emotional bond really lovely, it was also really convenient, I didn’t have to worry about bottles and formula or stick to specific times so it was easy to get out and about. With the next daughter, it was much easier and faster. Breastfeeding can take time, but it’s a completely amazing experience.'' 

Rosanne Sodzi, Health & Wellbeing Programme Manager, Public Health England South West, said: ''We know that breastfeeding is an area that many mothers need support with and we know that this can be particularly difficult out of hours (for example in the middle of the night when other support services aren’t around) this is when the chatbot is really useful. 

''The ‘Start4Life Breastfeeding Friend is available via Amazon Alexa’s voice search’ and on Google Assistant, is a great tool for mums in South West who are looking for help and advice about breastfeeding.'' 

Viv Bennett, Chief Nurse at Public Health England said: ''In the UK almost three-quarters of women start breastfeeding when their child is born, however by 6-8 weeks this drops to just 43%. Breastfeeding mothers often need help during hours when health professionals might not be accessible which is why Start4Life has extended the 24/7 Breastfeeding Friend to Google Assistant. Anyone with a smartphone South West can now access this tool - all they need to do is download the Google Assistant app and ask to talk to Breastfeeding Friend. It’s so important that local mums have accessible sources of breastfeeding help and advice when they need it and we hope the Breastfeeding Friend can help complement breastfeeding services from healthcare professionals.'' 

Find out more here