There are a variety of sources of specialist breastfeeding information and support available across North Somerset. If you are planning on breastfeeding your baby, already do, or are supporting someone who is breastfeeding and you live in North Somerset, then the following information will be useful for you.
Why is Breastfeeding important?
Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding (giving your baby breast milk only) is recommended for around the first six months (26 weeks) of your baby's life. After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside other food will help them continue to grow and develop healthily.
Breastfeeding helps protect your baby from:
Severe diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result
Coughs and colds
Chest and ear infections
Asthma and eczema
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death)
Obesity and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses later in life
There are health benefits for mums too, breastfeeding helps protect you from:
Osteoporosis (weak bones later in life) and hip fractures
Obesity (helps you lose weight by naturally using up to 500 calories a day)
Other benefits of breastfeeding include:
It saves money – infant formula, the sterilising equipment and feeding equipment can be costly
It helps to build a strong bond between you and your baby
It is available whenever and wherever your baby needs a feed, and is at the right temperature
It can give you a great sense of achievement
Breastfeeding support in North Somerset
It’s great that the majority of women in North Somerset start off breastfeeding their baby (81% of women in North Somerset start breastfeeding). However, life with a new baby is full of surprises, and you'll almost certainly have questions and concerns, even if it's not your first child. Midwives, health visitors and local trained peer supporters are here to help you. They can give you lots of information and support when you need it.
To access information on specific breastfeeding issues, the following leaflets may be helpful to download. If you would like a hard copy please contact us on the details at the bottom of this webpage.
- North Somerset Essential Guide to Feeding and Caring for your baby (see download section)
- Building a happy baby: A guide for parents
- Start4life Off to the Best Start
- Start4life Breastfeeding at study or work
- Start4life Introducing Solid Foods
- Caring for your baby at night
- Mastitis and Breastfeeding (The Breastfeeding Network)
- How safe is…? Alcohol, smoking, medicines and Breastfeeding (The Breastfeeding Network)
- Expressing and Storing Breastmilk (The Breastfeeding Network)
You may also want to watch From Bump to Breastfeeding DVD online to hear real mothers' stories, find out how to get started with breastfeeding, and practical answers to the common problems.
You can call the National Breastfeeding helpline: 0300 100 0212, for immediate breastfeeding support (available 9:30am-9:30pm every day).
For post-natal support up to 28 days following birth you can contact your midwifery team:
St.Michaels hospital, Bristol - 0117 342 5214 (24 hours)
Southmead hospital, Bristol - 0117 959 5305 (24 hours)
Weston General Hospital, Weston-Super-Mare - 01934 647 082 (24 hours)
Breastfeeding specialist midwives
For specialist breastfeeding advice you can contact a specialist midwife:
St Michaels hospital, Bristol - 0117 342 5164
Southmead hospital, Bristol - 0117 323 3527
Weston General Hospital, Weston-Super-Mare - 01934 647 082
You can also contact your health visitor team at North Somerset Community Partnership
Breastfeeding support groups and drop in sessions
There are a number of breastfeeding support groups and drop in sessions in children’s centres across North Somerset providing on-going breastfeeding support to mothers. As well as being a welcoming environment to meet other breastfeeding mums, these groups are attended by trained peer supporters, breastfeeding counsellors, children’s centre staff or NHS staff from midwifery or health visiting teams who can offer one to one support and information about breastfeeding.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are very welcome at any of the groups listed in the ‘Children’s Centres Breastfeeding Support Groups’ document (see downloads). If you are attending a group for the first time it is always worth checking to ensure that it is running that day.
Breastfeeding in Public – Breastfeeding Welcome
Feeding in public places can be a daunting prospect for some mums. However, often the fear of being watched or judged can be worse than the reality actually is! You shouldn’t ever be made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public. In fact, the Equality Act 2010 has made it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place, such as a cafe, shop or public transport.
In North Somerset, local venues can choose to be part of the Breastfeeding Welcome scheme. Any businesses or venues signed up to this scheme support the right of women to breastfeed in all public areas of their premises. These establishments have committed to being welcoming to breastfeeding mothers so that you can feed in peace and comfort when you are out and about. Venues that support the scheme will display the Breastfeeding Welcome logo on their premises and a full list of Breastfeeding Welcome Venues can be found in the downloads section of this page.
Breastfeeding Welcome, information for businesses: We would like to thank those venues that are “Breastfeeding Welcome” for their ongoing support! Joining the scheme is free, and a great way to attract new mums and their families to your business. If you are interested in joining the scheme or know of anywhere that you think would be interested in signing up, then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
UNICEF Baby friendly initiative
North Somerset Community Partnership and Weston Area Health Trust are fully accredited as baby friendly. This is both in the community and within hospital settings. Baby friendly aims to ensure that the best standards are implemented for infant feeding. For more information please see the North Somerset Infant feeding policy in the downloads section.
For more information see the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative webite.