Leeds health leaders say breastfeeding makes a world of difference

Local health leaders are raising awareness of the environmental and health benefits of infant feeding—as well as the support available—to mark World Breastfeeding Week.

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.

Not everyone chooses to breastfeed, but there are many benefits for those who do.

Infant feeding has long been recognised as having lasting health benefits to both mothers and babies by reducing the risk of illnesses including diabetes, obesity and asthma. However, its significant environmental benefits are less well known.

Most powdered formula milks are made from cow’s milk, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

As well as having a much lower carbon footprint, breastfeeding also saves significant amounts of water, energy, and waste compared to formula milk.

Research suggests that supporting mums in the UK to breastfeed could save as much carbon as much as taking 50,000 cars off the road. 

The Leeds is Breastfeeding Friendly campaign is supporting mums to feel more confident when breastfeeding in public. Local businesses are encouraged to provide welcoming environments for breastfeeding mums and to adopt UNICEF’s Baby Friendly standards.

This week a series of socially-distanced events organised by the Leeds Bosom Buddies will be taking place to give women a safe space in which to breastfeed together:

  • Monday 3 August, Pudsey Park
  • Tuesday 4th August, Middleton Park
  • Friday 7th August, Yeadon tarn

Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s Director of Public Health said:

“We’re always pleased to support World Breastfeeding Week and highlight the positive impacts that infant feeding has to the health of both mother and baby as well as our planet. We are proud in Leeds that services have adopted the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative standards to help support families in the most inclusive, empowering way possible and give every baby in Leeds the best start in life.”

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adults and Baby Friendly Guardian said:

“As a Child Friendly City, we’re always seeking to make our city more inclusive and supportive for all mums. We want to help mothers feel confident and comfortable when breastfeeding, wherever they are. Businesses and community venues can help by supporting our Breastfeeding Friendly Scheme and providing a welcoming environment for those who choose to feed.”

Steph Lawrence, Executive Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust said:

“At a time when we have been made more aware of the importance of our health and well-being, this week shares the opportunity to also recognise the difference breastfeeding can make for the health of our people and our planet. Our health visiting service in Leeds has long been invested in ensuring that breastfeeding support is the best it can be by adopting the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative standards and achieving continued gold accreditation.”

Teresa Newsome, Leeds Bosom Buddies peer group supporter and mum of two said:

“For women to be able to come together and feed their babies with other local mums depicts what this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is all about. Women can walk to their local space to gain well deserved and often critical support and a much needed sense of solidarity. As a natural and renewable source of food, breastfeeding really will help us make a healthier planet.”

ENDS

Notes for editors:

Those who are interested in attending the events hosted by the Leeds Bosom Buddies are kindly asked to register by contacting suzanne.tobin@healthforall.org.uk. Attendance will be kept to 30 per session with small groups of no more than 6. Attendees will follow 2m social distancing rules and hand sanitiser will be made available. 

For more information about breastfeeding and infant feeding in Leeds, please contact sally.goodwinmills@leeds.gov.uk or visit https://familyinformation.leeds.gov.uk/professionals/breastfeeding-friendly.

For more information about Baby Friendly Initiative accreditation please see https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/accreditation/.

World Breastfeeding Week  is organised by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action. More information can be found online https://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/.  

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