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Mothers told breast is best

Tuesday, 2nd April, 2013

Sara Unsworth with son Jye Thompson (12 months) relaxes in the breastfeeding area at the Child and Family Health Centre. Sara Unsworth with son Jye Thompson (12 months) relaxes in the breastfeeding area at the Child and Family Health Centre.

By Gayle Ball

Public acceptance and support encourages mothers to continue breastfeeding their babies, according to the BH Health Service.

Far West Local Health District Health Promotions Officer, Kelli Schultz, said the health service had ways of helping mothers feel more comfortable, with the message being "breast is best."

Child and Family Health Staff are available to discuss any issues and the maternity unit, which is "breastfeeding friendly" accredited, educates new and expecting mothers about the benefits.

Staff at the Child and Family Health Centre, on the corner of Oxide and Crystal streets, also has a lounge for breastfeeding mothers as well as private space for those who feel more comfortable feeding there.

Ms Schultz said many mothers used it when they were in town.

"Some people are happy, confident and comfortable breastfeeding in public. Others prefer a quieter space to do so privately," she said.

"Breastfeeding women do have the legal right to breastfeed their babies in public."

The Child and Family Health Centre relaunched the Australian Breastfeeding Association initiative - "Breastfeeding Welcome Here" - campaign late last year and Ms Schultz said 19 businesses signed up.

Venues receive a "Breastfeeding Welcome Here" sticker to display that shows they welcome breastfeeding on their premises.

Ms Schultz said businesses need a welcoming attitude from staff and management, a smoke-free environment and room to move a pram to be
accredited for the program.

"Family and community support helps families breastfeed long term.

"If people are comfortable and have places around town.... it does encourage them to continue breastfeeding."

The Child and Family Health Centre also has a number of other strategies planned, including the re-establishment of a Breastfeeding Support Group in Broken Hill. This will be led by trained mentors who can provide support for breastfeeding mothers.

While a number of mothers have expressed concern about a lack of acceptable change rooms in Broken Hill, Ms Schultz said the Child and Family Health Centre has a change table and weigh scales available for use during business hours (Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Change rooms are also available in the hospital's Maternity Unit.

The Health Service is also investigating broadening the availability in the hospital of access to change rooms.

Meanwhile, businesses interested in joining the "Breastfeeding Welcome Here" campaign may call Kelli Schultz on 8082 6111 for more information.

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