Extra help for mums in West Essex

Breast feeding champions and health visitors from the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service will be at events in [Epping/Harlow] this week offering families advice on feeding their babies as part of Breastfeeding Celebration Week (26 – 30 June).

The week, which runs annually and is co-ordinated by Public Health England, is themed around ‘breastfeeding support’ this year.

Health Visitors from the service will be offering advice and guidance to mums at:

  • Harvey Centre – Harlow from 9am until 3.30pm on Tuesday 20 June
  • Epping High Street – Epping from 9am until 3.30pm on Monday 26 June

Unicef manage the ‘Baby Friendly Initiative’ (BFI), a programme to set and check the standards of health and care providers supporting families to feed their children. They say an increasing number of mothers are breastfeeding their children, but say support is needed to help mums breastfeed for longer.

The most recent survey in 2010 showed that the number of babies breastfed from birth had risen to 81%, but just 1% of mums are exclusively breastfeeding their baby by six months old.

The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, with a mix of breastfeeding and other foods to the age of 2. The BFI has been shown as one of the most effective programmes at increasing breastfeeding rates, according to Unicef analysis.

Marie Gibbons, breastfeeding champion and Health Visitor for Virgin Care in Essex said:  “Breastfeeding has life-long health benefits for babies and mums. For the child there’s a lowered risk of infections and disease and for mums breastfeeding can reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.”

“We run a variety of support initiatives, including breastfeeding support groups and events like this one, to help support mums to breastfeed and contribute to the success of breastfeeding in Essex.”

Virgin Care provides the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service in partnership with Banardo’s on behalf of Essex County Council and West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group. The service ensures families have access to support services including health visiting, parenting support, school nursing and family health services.

The service is the result of an extensive consultation with local people by the County Council and CCG to make sure that children and young people in Essex have the best possible start in life.


For more information please contact:

Nic Parkes, Senior Communications Manager

020 7380 1792 / 07580 781765


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