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Breastfeeding support group to get new premises

A breastfeeding support group established by York Health Visitors is moving to new premises this August in time for World Breastfeeding Week.      

The Nurture Breastfeeding Support Group was founded in 2010 to provide a much needed service to parents in the Acomb area of York. Before the group was established, mothers in need of advice and support found they had to travel across the city to access it. At the time, breastfeeding rates in York were well below the national average, with breastfeeding dropping to thirty-two percent after six to eight weeks.   

With the help of local Christian charity Global and the Carr Children’s Centre, Health Visitor Lynn Fitzharris and her team set up the group. They were also assisted by Treasure Chest Peer Supporters.  

Lynn said: “We wanted to offer a strong support network to promote breastfeeding in a relaxed café style atmosphere. The group was attended by other Health Visitors, children centre workers and peer supporters. Together we attempted to help parents with any feeding problems they were having.  Others came to meet other breastfeeding mums and share experiences.”

Speaking of the benefits of natural feeding, Lynn said: “Breastmilk is nutritionally balanced to meet babies’ needs meaning it is easily digested and efficiently used. Research shows breastfeeding can help reduce risks of juvenile diabetes and lower blood pressure. Breastfed babies also tend to have better development. It can also be beneficial to mothers as it can reduce the incidence of pre- menopausal breast cancer and some forms of ovarian cancer.” 

The popular group now has over twenty regular attendees with many parents remaining members until their children can walk. Former members are invited to annual parties and picnics.  

Lynn added: “We have had a positive affect on the continuation and duration of breastfeeding locally. Lots of mothers say they’re now confident feeding in public while others have trained to be Peer Supporters themselves.” 

As of August, the group will meet at Acomb Library on Fridays from 10am until 11.30am. The first meeting will take place on Friday 2 August and new members are welcome. To mark the end of an era, a ‘leaving party’ was held at the Global Centre on Friday 19 July 2013.

World Breastfeeding Week runs from August 1 to August 7 annually. Now in its twenty-first year, it is celebrated in over 170 countries. This year’s theme is ‘Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers’ which aims to highlight the great work carried out by those trained to help and support mothers. 

30 July 2013

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