A PAIR of Hartlepool mums say breastfeeding children gives them the best start in life and have urged other women to “give it a go”.
Samantha Williams and Caroline Gough say the support is there to encourage others after it was revealed four out of five Hartlepool women stop breastfeeding their children after six weeks.
The pair are so passionate about raising levels that they are currently training to become Hartlepool Peer Supporters, who go into Sure Start centres and homes across town helping to support breastfeeding mums.
Samantha, of the town’s Studland Drive, breastfeeds eight-month-old Jonah and has also breastfed her other children Olivia, nine, who goes to Barnard Grove Primary School and 15-year-old Owen, who attends St Hild’s CE Secondary School.
The 41-year-old said: “There can be lots of hurdles and barriers to prevent women from starting to breastfeed, but the support is there from midwives and health visitors.
“The support is certainly growing for mums in Hartlepool and my advice would be to give it a go.”
Samantha said social and cultural differences can often prevent women from breastfeeding.
She added: “Jonah had a tongue tie and that can be a contributing factor to stop women, but I breastfed throughout and I am very pro-breastfeeding.”
It comes after the Mail recently revealed shocking figures which show just 46 per cent of women start to breastfeed their newborns.
But that figure is slashed to 21 per cent after six weeks with the majority giving up within three days after birth.
Research shows breastfed children are less likely to become obese and develop type 2 diabetes while it lowers the risk of women getting breast and ovarian cancer and helps them lose weight.
Samantha said: “We were asked to take part in the peer support programme and we are taking part in the training.
“The support programme is important as mums don’t always have time to attend groups or classes.”
The training has been done through the National Childbirth Trust.
Caroline, 39, mum to eight-month-old Georgie, has also urged mums to breastfeed.
The full-time mum, from the Hart Lane area, said: “It can be difficult at first and it doesn’t come naturally to some people, but I received a lot of help and support from my midwife Roberta Thomson, who went above and beyond.
“I would urge mums to give it a try because once you do crack it, breastfeeding is the most natural and lovely experience in the world.
“You also give your child the best start in life.”
Members of the shadow health and wellbeing board put the town’s poor figures down to cultural differences, mums spending less time in hospital after giving birth and negative perceptions.
For advice and support the first point of contact should be the midwife or health visitor or by calling the national breastfeeding helpline on 0300 1000212, which operates seven days a week from 9.30am-9.30pm.