Public Health specialists in Northumberland are backing a Feed-Finder App which helps new mums to find and share reviews on good places for breastfeeding.
The App is free to download and works like Trip Advisor to create an online directory of reviews linked to maps that help mums find the best places for breast feeding when out and about.
There are already dozens of reviews for venues across Northumberland including cafes, restaurants and other public places like supermarkets, department stores and children’s centres that can help mums locate the most breast feeding friendly places.
The Feed-Finder App (https://feed-finder.co.uk/) was developed by Madeline Balaam who is a new mum herself , and her team at Newcastle University. Not only is it beneficial for mothers, it will also help to boost business in cafes and restaurants and other public places where they have a 5 star Feed-Finder rating.
Madeline said. “Our research has shown many mothers felt it was difficult to breast feed in public and were anxious about going out. Feed-Finder has helped to dispel this myth and shown that many mums are out and about and actively writing reviews.”
Despite the overwhelming evidence of the benefits of breast feeding, rates within the UK and particularly in the North East are among some of the lowest in the world.
In Northumberland around 60% of mothers breast feed their babies at birth but this drops to just 33% after six weeks. The prevalence of breastfeeding among teenagers is particularly low.
Liz Lingard, Public Health Specialty Registrar would like new mothers to adopt the ‘Give it a go’ attitude to breast feeding as any amount has been shown to have positive health benefits. “Continuing for six months is ideal but the first step is giving it a go at birth and then we need to put in place the best support to help mothers keep going.” she said.
“We spoke to Northumberland mothers about the type of information or support they would like. They wanted to talk to other local mothers who had been through the same experience.”
More funding is now being put into increasing the number of peer support workers who can provide one to one assistance for new mums from the time of birth for as long as they are needed.
Councillor Susan Dungworth, policy board member for public health said: “We want Northumberland to become a leading baby friendly county that actively supports a mother’s right to breastfeed wherever she is in the county. ”
Breastfeeding has a positive impact on babies, helping to ensure they have less illness with lasting effects into childhood including healthy weight. There are also health benefits for mums and more importantly it promotes secure attachment between mothers and babies.
Northumberland has active breast feeding support groups throughout the county and lists events and support services available on their website (www.breastfeedingnorthumberland.co.uk).
The next event is the ‘Big Latch On’ on Saturday 9th August which will start at 10.30am in Charltons Pub, Cambois and will followed by a family fun day from 11am until 3pm. So bring the family and join in on the day, it is certain to get 5 stars on the Feed-Finder App!