A CAMPAIGN is being launched to encourage more Halton mums to breastfeed.

Halton Health Improvement Team and Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust is celebrating breastfeeding awareness week from June 30 to July 4.

Health chiefs hope to raise awareness of the health benefits, increase social acceptance and support women.

Eileen O’Meara, director of public health for Halton Council said: “Increasing breastfeeding rates will make a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of our communities.

“ it’s up to us to encourage a shift in attitudes and make breastfeeding the norm.”

The baby welcome initiative in Halton enables public premises such as cafes, council offices, shops and retailers to become a breastfeeding frendly place and offer support and a place for mums to breastfeed in comfort.

Special stickers will be displayed in their windows.

Jean Pierce, who runs the Pavilions Café in Victoria Park, is always happy to welcome any mums who want to feed their baby.

She said: “The park is really popular with local mums and families but in an open space it can be hard to find somewhere appropriate to breastfeed, especially if you prefer some privacy while feeding.

“That’s why ’m happy to be signed up to the baby welcome initiative and welcome breastfeeding mums into the café to use our facilities”.

One Widnes mum said: “I have breastfed in Victoria Park’s café recently and I used the private area at the side of the main café area. I felt that the staff were supportive and it seemed as if no-one noticed that I was breastfeeding.

“Iam happy about this experience and will breastfeed again there in the future.”

Another mum added: “I am happy to feed wherever I need to and I have fed several times in the Victoria parks grounds.

“There are plenty of benches dotted around the park which are good places to stop and breastfeed.

“Usually I feed by the play area while my older child has a play, which is convenient. I am happy, content and confident in regards to breastfeeding in Victoria Park.”

Support groups for breastfeeding mums are held at Ditton Library on Tuesdays from 10am to 11am, Halton Lodge Children’s Centre, Grangeway, Halton Lodge, Runcorn in Wednesdays from 1pm to 2pm, Warrington Road Children’s Centre, Naylor Road, Widnes and on Fridays from 11.40am to 12.30pm.

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of infection for babies and lowers the chance of illnesses later in life.

For mums, it helps them to lose weight after pregnancy, reduces the risk of breast cancer, weak bones in later life and ovarian cancer.

Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of cot death.

To contact the Halton Health Improvement Team breastfeeding support workers, call 0300 300 0103.