News release from 03/08/2022
Breastfeeding campaign encourages South Cambridgeshire businesses and community venues to welcome families who breastfeed and/or pump
Businesses across South Cambridgeshire are being encouraged to welcome families who breastfeed and / or pump thanks to a new campaign launched this month.
South Cambridgeshire District Council is working with the NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Infant Feeding Team and ‘Best Start in Life’ partnership to support venues across the district to become more welcoming to families who breastfeed and/or pump in public.
The #FreeToFeedCP campaign is encouraging businesses and community venues to pledge their support for families who breastfeed and/or pump by signing up and displaying the sticker and promotional material in their premises.
Among the first businesses to take the ‘FreeToFeedCP pledge is Shepreth Wildlife Park and Govia Thameslink Railway.
To launch the campaign, a group of families took a train trip from Cambridge to the popular animal park to enjoy a day out.
Cllr Bridget Smith, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Breastfeeding is proven to be very beneficial to the health of the mother and baby, it should not be daunting for mothers to breastfeed or pump in bars, cafes, restaurants and other venues while they are out with their children. As someone who breast fed all three of my sons, I feel strongly that normalising breastfeeding and pumping in public is really important and something we can all help with through conversation and support.”
Nina Morley, of NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Infant Feeding Team, said: “As a service we are proud to hold stage 3 UNICEF baby Friendly Accreditation and we believe that breastfeeding has amazing health benefits for families, but knowing where to access support for breastfeeding can be difficult.
"All families, by law, are free to breastfeed and/or pump for their baby in public, anytime, anywhere. If breastfeeding parents are aware of local venues that support breastfeeding and will be welcoming of them, it will make a huge difference to their confidence, and will support their breastfeeding journey.”
Helen Freeman, Co-Chair of the Best Start in Life Partnership, said: “’Free to Feed’ is a fantastic initiative, that we are excited to see launch in the South Cambridgeshire community. This trailblazing campaign is a great starting point to create a county wide campaign that is designed with local families. We are eagerly monitoring its progress to include any learning in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Infant Feeding Strategy.”
Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, said: “We’re committed to making our services as comfortable and accessible as possible for everyone. That includes making breastfeeding and pumping normal everyday activities on the train, that no-one feels awkward about.
“It was a great pleasure to welcome these Cambridgeshire families on this special trip, and to support this important campaign by the District Council and their NHS partners. Many thanks are due to Sarah Grove of the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership for bringing everyone together to make this happen.
“I breastfed both my kids, and on a train too, so this is something I really endorse. I hope the event gives all breastfeeding and pumping families the confidence to travel with us and feel ‘Free to Feed’.”
The #FreeToFeedCP campaign is designed to raise the confidence of families and increase understanding among the public, businesses and community venues. Breastfeeding friendly venues often report a real improvement in customer service and can have the added benefit of attracting a new client base.
Almost three-quarters of women start breastfeeding when their child is born, but this drops to below half within six to eight weeks.
Evidence shows that with the right support, it can help families sustain breastfeeding for longer.
To take the pledge and become breastfeeding friendly, venues must adopt the “breastfeeding welcome” policy, and ensure staff are aware of how to implement it.
To find out more about taking the pledge to become a breastfeeding / pump friendly venue email: Duty.Communities@scambs.gov.uk