PROOF PORT IS MUM-FRIENDLY

The new Welcome to Fleetwood sign, telling people breastfeeding is welcome.'BACK ROW (L to R) Deputy Mayor Wyre  Ian Perkins, Fleetwood mother Sarah Barlow (holding baby Dexter), Deputy Mayoress Eve Perkins, Dawn Clifton, Public Health Improvement Coordinator NHS North Lancashire'and Mary Whitmore, Infant Feeding, NHS North Lancashire and NHS Blackpool'FRONT ROW (l to r): Tyler Barlow, Cheryl Smith, Fleetwood Star Buddy peer support Coordinator and Sam Astin, Fleetwood Star Buddy peer supporter
The new Welcome to Fleetwood sign, telling people breastfeeding is welcome.'BACK ROW (L to R) Deputy Mayor Wyre Ian Perkins, Fleetwood mother Sarah Barlow (holding baby Dexter), Deputy Mayoress Eve Perkins, Dawn Clifton, Public Health Improvement Coordinator NHS North Lancashire'and Mary Whitmore, Infant Feeding, NHS North Lancashire and NHS Blackpool'FRONT ROW (l to r): Tyler Barlow, Cheryl Smith, Fleetwood Star Buddy peer support Coordinator and Sam Astin, Fleetwood Star Buddy peer supporter
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For the town of Fleetwood, this is a sign of the times.

The port’s Welcome to Fleetwood signs are being changed to inform local and visiting mums it is now a breastfeeding-friendly town.

Mothers coming to, and who live in, Fleetwood can now feel confident about breastfeeding their little ones in the town, partly thanks to the tireless work of mum-of-two Cheryl Smith, who has championed the issue locally.

With the help of the NHS and other organisations, Cheryl – who works for the Breastfeeding Network as Fleetwood’s Star Buddies peer support co-ordinator – has signed up more than 30 businesses in the town, who welcome breastfeeding on their premises.

Cheryl’s role also involves offering support to new mums in Fleetwood to help them become confident and comfortable with breastfeeding.

She said: “We’ve worked very hard in Fleetwood to bring about an acceptance of breastfeeding, so we are delighted the town is going that extra mile and proclaiming itself a breastfeeding welcome town.

“It all came about because we were asking businesses if they would be prepared to welcome breastfeeding and everybody was saying ‘yes.’ We had a great, really positive response.

“So we thought about making the whole town breastfeeding welcome, and everybody seemed to be positive about the idea.

“We carried out surveys and research, and made sure people were happy with the idea.

“The vast majority of people didn’t even see it as an issue if mothers wanted to breastfeed, they were completely happy about it.

“We do know it’s not the same in every area of the country.

“If women know breastfeeding is welcome, it just gives them confidence, they feel more comfortable, they know they can go anywhere and not have to worry about feeding their baby.”

Cheryl, who herself has a son and a daughter said: “Breastfeeding has so many health benefits, but we also want to make clear Fleetwood is a place where mums can feed their baby, however they choose to do it.

“It’s not just about breastfeeding – it’s about Fleetwood being a family-friendly town where mums can feel comfortable and happy feeding their baby, whichever way they want to.

“We want them to feel welcome.”