A TOWN business has become the first recipient of a new award for promoting breast-feeding.
PATCH (Parent & Toddler Care in Hartlepool) won the new Hartlepool Breastfeeding Welcome Award, which rewards businesses and organisations that encourage breast-feeding on their premises.
The accolade was awarded after PATCH sailed through the strict criteria to achieve the highest gold level.
To win the award, PATCH had to welcome breast-feeding mums in public areas of its premises, provide a comfortable private space for baby feeding, offer separate baby changing facilities, boast a Welcome to Breast-feed Here sign at its entrance and have a written breast-feeding policy which all staff are aware of.
Hartlepool has the lowest breast-feeding rates in the country, but has been boosted by nine mothers who completed training in the Hartlepool Breast-feeding Peer Support Initiative.
The women received certificates having undergone training with the National Childbirth Trust.
They will act as pioneers, offering advice, support and encouragement to new breast-feeding mums at the town’s children’s centres.
The training course and award are run by Hartlepool Borough Council in conjunction with NHS Hartlepool.
The awards were presented in the PATCH centre by Deborah Gibbin, NHS Hartlepool’s health improvement practitioner, and Annie Wallace, the council’s breast-feeding co-ordinator.
Annie Wallace said: “Breast-feeding has lifelong benefits, it’s perfectly designed for babies and it’s free.
“It reduces the risk of many health problems including asthma, gastronteritis, eczema and diabetes and breast-fed babies have a higher IQ.
“It’s vitally important that we spread this message to mums across Hartlepool and I congratulate everyone who has received awards and certificates.”
PATCH manager Jan Dobson added: “We are absolutely delighted, especially as we are an organisation which supports families who are expecting a baby or have young children.
“The award fits so well with our own ethos and the warm welcome and ‘open door’ policy which we extend to all families.”
For more information about breast-feeding, call Annie Wallace on (01429) 292555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org