Brunch, music and even yoga were part of a week of innovative activities in South Tyneside designed to help new mums overcome the many challenges that can come from breastfeeding.
To mark World Breastfeeding Week, the South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust has worked with the local council to organize a series of events – and even a ‘Breastival’ – to help support families in the borough. The South Tyneside Early Excellence Children’s Center in Hebburn hosted the festival, which offers stalls, craft activities for children and a wellness workshop, as well as expert breastfeeding advice and resources.
The NHS Trust runs a range of breastfeeding support groups, and the event is important to help steer new mums to available services. An informal brunch will be held at the All Saints Children’s Center in Tyne Dock, South Shields, also to encourage people to seek help if they need it.
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Cheryl Rutherford, a community child care nurse at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust, said: “Breastfeeding groups give mums the chance to meet others, share experiences and know they are not alone. We are here to offer support and guidance and help them have a successful breastfeeding journey.
“[The week] gives us the chance to celebrate the support available and encourage them to join one of our groups. It was great to see moms come, to help them and to see their confidence grow, because sometimes they come and they are quite shy, but they are among friends and everyone always welcomes them.
Throughout the year, Cheryl and Gemma Maughan – an outreach worker on the council – hold breastfeeding support group sessions at each children’s center between 11am and noon. They take place at Hebburn on Wednesdays and at Tyne Dock on Fridays.
Councilor Anne Hetherington is the health officer for South Tyneside Council. She added: “These groups provide a really supportive environment and they are very popular and it shows in the number of people who are joining now. I would encourage people to participate in the groups and events that we organize to learn more about the how breastfeeding is important for children to have the best start in life.”
Councilor Adam Ellison, who leads children, young people and families, added that the groups provide a “vital network” for mums.