Town’s support for mums and babies

Kath Whittle serves (from left) Jenny Brand and Lucas, Cheryl Smith of Star Buddies, and Kirsty Matthews and Courtney.
Kath Whittle serves (from left) Jenny Brand and Lucas, Cheryl Smith of Star Buddies, and Kirsty Matthews and Courtney.

PLANS are afoot to make Fleetwood an official baby-friendly town.

breast-feeding network of cafes and other places where mums are welcome to feed their youngsters, has been in operation for six months.

But now the Star Buddies group, which promotes the network is after official backing from Fleetwood Town Council.

Group co-ordinator Cheryl Smith said: “We would like to see a sign on the way into town to let people know that Fleetwood is baby-friendly and there are lots of places where breast-feeding is welcome.”

Cheryl put her case to Fleetwood Town Council who will consider her proposals at their next meeting when they have received a report from her.

She said: “The mums are worried they will get kicked out of places if they start to breast feed.

“But we are trying to get it accepted as a normal thing to do in public and the response from people in Fleetwood has been excellent.

“Not one person has said ‘no’ and we are hoping to get more involved in it.

“It’s just finding time getting round places to get them.

“The response has been very positive and we’re really pleased about that.”

Health experts say that breastfeeding has several benefits for babies and the NHS is keen for more mums to take it up.

Breastfed babies have:

- less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result

- fewer chest and ear infections and having to go to hospital as a result

- less chance of being constipated

- less likelihood of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life

- less chance of developing eczema

The longer mums breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits. Infant formula doesn’t give babies the same ingredients or provide the same protection. Breast milk also adapts to meet your baby’s changing needs.

And breastfeeding also helps mother and baby bond.

Star Buddies makes contact with new mums as they leave hospital to provide support in a variety of areas, including feeding by breast and bottle.

Cheryl added: “Even some of the more confident mothers don’t like to ask if they can breast feed in some places.

“But now we have this running they are able to go out for a lot longer.

“They don’t have to stay in the house all the time and they should not have to.”

Trudie Swift, who runs Cafe 3 one 6 on Lord Street, is very supportive of the initiative.

She said: “I’m very happy to take part. It’s a good scheme.

“We never know when the mums are feeding because they are so discreet about it.

“It has never been an issue for us.”

Jenny Brand of Harris Street, who has a son Lucas, aged five-and-a-half months, said: “I don’t breast feed any more but I was very keen on this arrangement.

“It’s just good all round.”

Star Buddies is paid for by North Lancashire NHS Trust, and there are a number of similar groups across the Fylde coast.