Mums protest breastfeeding support service axe

Mum's protesting outside Bickerstaffe House
Mum's protesting outside Bickerstaffe House
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Blackpool mums took  their protests about the axing of a volunteer breastfeeding usupport service to Blackpool Council’s doorsteps.

More than a dozen mothers wrapped up their little ones and braved inclement weather as they battled for a u-turn on the scrapping of the Star Buddies scheme.

Blackpool Council has taken the decision to end funding for the service which supports new mums who are struggling to breastfeed.

The scheme, run by the Breastfeeding Network will end in Blackpool on June 30.

And those who have benefited from the expert advice and individual support offered by volunteers are angry the contract will not be renewed.

protest organiser Zoe Walsh praised those who chose to make their voice heard.

She said: “It was incredibly windy and the weather impacted turnout but we were thrilled that families came out to protest with us.

“We very nearly lost our banners in the wind!

“We had about a dozen women and children and spoke to passers-by and caught the attention of council staff coming and going.

“This service is important to the women of Blackpool and they have not been consulted.

“We are receiving so many messages to say that women would not have breastfed without the support of the starbuddies and we are really concerned about the future health and wellbeing of women and babies in our town.”

Blackpool Council insists mums will continue to receive support.

It insists a new improved breast-feeding service in Blackpool will be introduced, giving more mothers personal support around feeding their new born baby.

The authority is desperate to improve breastfeeding rates among new mums which are currently well below the national average.

A spokesman said: “While roughly 1,700 Blackpool mums give birth every year, breast-feeding rates in the town are low, with only one in four babies – half the national average - being breast-fed after six week

“The contract with the Breastfeeding Network, which runs the peer support Star Buddies scheme, will reach the end of its term on 30 June, with the money from that contract being used to support an improved health visitor service, which almost doubles the amount of visits every new mum receives.

“The improved Health Visitor service will provide information about all aspects of infant nutrition and support all mums in the town, no matter how they choose to feed their babies, by discussing breast-feeding and safely bottle feeding their baby.”

The new service is expected to be rolled out across Blackpool over the course of June.