MUMS have urged women to seek advice early after it was revealed four out of five Hartlepool women stop breastfeeding their children after six weeks.
Lindsay Roberts is one of the 20-strong Hartlepool Peer Supporters who go into Sure Start centres across town and provide help and support to new mums and mums-to-be who want to know more about breastfeeding their children.
The 35-year-old is mum to Oz, four, who attends Greatham Primary School and two-year-old Huw, both of which were breast fed for the first two years.
Earlier this week, the Mail 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.
Lindsay, a full-time mum, said she was always “determined” to breastfeed and attended several different antenatal groups to get the best advice and with the help of a National Childbirth Trust breastfeeding counsellor managed to do so.
Lindsay, who is married to Karl, 40, a recruitment consultant, said: “Just because it was right for me doesn’t mean it is right for everybody.
“For me it was hard but it was worth it and I wouldn’t change it.”
Lindsay added: “Both boys only ever had my breastmilk until just past their second birthdays.
“It was tough, I did sacrifice lots of sleep and some social life but then they are my children, why would I not?
“I see many people struggling because of a lack of support in those early days which is why I really encourage women to seek advice and information during antenatal classes because that is when you have more time to consider it.
“I have two beautiful healthy children and I know as a mother I have done the best I could.”
As well as the Peer Supporters programme, there is also the Hartlepool Attachment Parenting Group (HAP Group) meets every other Saturday between 10am and noon in Cafe One77, in the town’s York Road.
Attachment parenting involves breastfeeding, cloth nappying, babywearing, baby signing and positive discipline.
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.
The ambition is for Hartlepool to become a breastfeeding friendly town while there was also calls for more work to target awareness among parents, grandparents and partners, increased peer support and national television campaigns.
For advice and support the first point of contact should be your midwife or health visitor or call the national breastfeeding helpline on 0300 100 0212, which operates seven days a week 9.30am-9.30pm.
For more information abut the HAP group visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/HartlepoolAttachmentParenting