Building on our work to promote and support breastfeeding, Sheffield City Council is set to become a Breastfeeding Friendly Local Authority at this week’s cabinet meeting, 15 January 2020.

This decision will mean that the council will encourage all key partners to become breastfeeding friendly; have a breastfeeding policy in place; encourage other venues throughout the city to support breastfeeding; and provide training to its public facing staff.

This initiative builds on work across Sheffield to identify 260 breastfeeding friendly venues to help women breastfeed, when out and about as well as remove some of the barriers to breastfeeding. Sheffield City Council was one of the first local authorities to receive the prestigious Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative Gold accreditation in 2019 in recognition of the excellent services and joint working in supporting women to breastfeed.

Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Sheffield City Council said:

“In Sheffield nearly 80 per cent of new mothers breastfeed their babies in the first few days and the city’s breastfeeding rates at 6-8 weeks are the highest in Yorkshire and Humber.  However we realise that these rates would decrease significantly without the appropriate support available to mums and dads.

“Sheffield City Council, working with its partners, have done some fantastic work to help support breastfeeding mums in the city.  The Council wants to build on this by becoming the first Breastfeeding Friendly Local Authority in the country and encourage other large and small organisations to follow our lead.

“We know that mums can breastfeed wherever they want to but we also recognise that some new mums find it difficult to breastfeed when they are out and about.  Providing places and support for mums to breastfeed gives mums more choice, and can help them to continue to breastfeed their children.”

In 2009, a report commissioned by NHS Sheffield identified some of the barriers to sustained breastfeeding and confirmed that many women feel anxious or embarrassed about breastfeeding in public places. The report highlighted that the more breastfeeding was seen in public the more accepted it would become.