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Leeds parks host outdoor breastfeeding activities to support mothers

Leeds women will be given a ‘safe space’ to breastfeed in public, to mark and support a global awareness week.

This week (August 1-7) marks Breastfeeding Awareness week, which highlights the health and environmental benefits to this form of infant feeding.

In support of this, the ‘Leeds is Breastfeeding Friendly’ campaign by Leeds City Council has been launched to help mums gain the confidence breastfeeding in public.

The campaign will see three areas of Leeds host an outdoor event organised by Leeds Bosom Buddies to give women a safe space in which to breastfeed together.

They will be on:

  • Monday 3 August, at Pudsey Park
  • Tuesday 4th August, at Middleton Park
  • Friday 7th August, at Yeadon Tarn

Attendance of the event will be kept to 30 people per session with small groups of no more than six, they will also be asked to follow the social distancing rules and hand sanitizer will be available.

‘Breastfeeding really will help make us a healthier planet’

Teresa Newsome, Leeds Bosom Buddies peer-group supporter and mum of two said: “For women to be able to come together and feed their babies with other local mums depicts what this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is all about. Women can walk to their local space to gain well deserved and often critical support and a much-needed sense of solidarity. As a natural and renewable source of food, breastfeeding really will help us make a healthier planet.”

Research suggests that supporting mums in the UK to breastfeed could save as much carbon – similar to taking 50,000 cars off the road.

Infant feeding has also been recognised as having long-lasting health benefits to both mothers and babies by reducing the risk of illnesses including diabetes, obesity and asthma. Breastfeeding also saves significant amounts of water, energy, and waste compared to formula milk.

Most powdered formula milks are made from cow’s milk, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

The Leeds is Breastfeeding Friendly campaign is supporting mums to feel more confident when breastfeeding in public. Local businesses are encouraged to provide welcoming environments for breastfeeding mums and to adopt UNICEF’s Baby Friendly standards.

Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s Director of Public Health said: “We’re always pleased to support World Breastfeeding Week and highlight the positive impacts that infant feeding has to the health of both mother and baby as well as our planet. We are proud in Leeds that services have adopted the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative standards to help support families in the most inclusive, empowering way possible and give every baby in Leeds the best start in life.”

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adults and Baby-Friendly Guardian said: “As a Child-Friendly City, we’re always seeking to make our city more inclusive and supportive for all mums. We want to help mothers feel confident and comfortable when breastfeeding, wherever they are. Businesses and community venues can help by supporting our Breastfeeding Friendly Scheme and providing a welcoming environment for those who choose to feed.”

Paolo Sorbello

Paolo Sorbello is a journalist and researcher. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow, studying state-business relations in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. He is also the Business News Editor of the weekly newspaper The Conway Bulletin.

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