Warrington Borough Council is backing a new campaign to improve breastfeeding rates.
Start4Life, a Public Health England (PHE) programme that helps parents-to-be and parents to adopt healthy behaviours has launched a new interactive BreastFeeding Friend (BFF) ChatBot nationally and the council are encouraging Warrington parents to use it.
The BFF is accessed through Facebook messenger and provides personal support for mums at any time of the day or night to help make breastfeeding a better experience.
The BFF will also dispel any breastfeeding myths and help alleviate any concerns mums may have. The bot works as a live chat tool which is able to respond to questions about breastfeeding 24 hours a day.
To access the BFF, simply open Facebook messenger and search Start4Life BreastFeeding Friend.
In England around 74% of mothers start breastfeeding, but this drops to around 43% after two months. In Warrington, mothers are slightly less likely to breastfeed with 69% starting breastfeeding, dropping to 37% after two months. However, evidence shows the right support helps mums to breastfeed for longer.
Dr Muna Abdel Aziz, director of public health said: “The ‘Start4Life Breastfeeding Friend’ is a good additional tool for new mums who are looking for help and advice about breastfeeding. Support can make a real difference to successful breastfeeding so building a network of people who can share tips and advice or attending local breastfeeding groups, such as Bosom Buddies can also be beneficial for those who might require a bit more help.”
Bosom Buddies provides local support and advice for mums who choose to breastfeed. The groups are run by breastfeeding champions, which include health visitors, midwives, staff nurses, nursery nurses and ‘Bosom Buddies’ volunteers who have been trained to offer support and advice.
Individual groups work voluntarily at Warrington and Halton Hospitals and in the Children’s Centre’s in the community. All Warrington’s Children’s Centre’s are designated breastfeeding friendly premises and have passed Stage 1 of the UNICEF ‘Baby Friendly Initiative’, which means mothers are welcome to breastfeed their babies and the environment is designed to promote a positive breastfeeding experience for mothers and babies.
Being a new mum can be stressful! If you, or someone you know, can’t cope it’s important to ask for support. If you’re struggling to cope, then speak to your GP, or someone else you trust. If your doctor’s surgery is closed you can ring NHS 111. You might also want to look at some of the support services listed on Warrington’s mental health awareness site happyoksad.org.uk