People have given a range of view after Hartlepool was highlighted as having the lowest rate of breastfeeding take up in the country.
Just under 38% of new mums begin to breastfeed their babies in Hartlepool compared to the England average of almost 75%.
Dr Peter Brambleby, Hartlepool’s interim director of public health, says the council will work to change public attitudes, including making it more acceptable for mums to feed their babies on public transport and in cafes and restaurants. They will also look to NHS colleagues to make sure mums are encouraged and supported.
Dr Brambleby said: “It’s normal in England for mums to at least start to breastfeed their babies, but it’s not normal in Hartlepool. It is a wake-up call to remind people that there is an issue here.
“It’s not the best start in life to miss out on breastfeeding so let’s see what we can do about it in a supportive and helpful way.”
Dr Brambleby added: “A big part of the problem is dads, so I think part of the preparedness for having a baby is working with the dads to encourage the mums and prevent them from stopping breastfeeding.”
Readers had their say on the issue when they commented on our Facebook page.
Kayleigh Robinson wrote: “Is this serious? Are you really shaming people who bottle feed?”
Nicola-Jayne Battram said: “That’s exactly what it feels like. Ridiculous.”
Danielle Jade Skinner commented: “Nothing wrong in bottle feeding. I am bottle feeding my newborn. As long as baby is fed that’s all that matters weather its bottle or boob.”
Diane Bird stated: “I bottle fed all of my kids nothing wrong with mams bottle feeding. That’s their choice but mothers should NOT be shamed for bottle feeding their babies as long as baby fed who cares weather baby is fed by bottle or breast.”
Zara Lines said: “It’s not shaming them though? Just stating the fact that it has a low rate. It isn’t an attack against bottle feeding, more a reminder of lack of support towards breastfeeding mothers!”
Bexx Smith-Greenan stated: “Excellent to see this article on front page. Nothing wrong with bottle feeding, but there are many health benefits to breastfeeding and the problem is there’s a lack of support, correct support for those that DO want to breastfeed and that needs to be addressed.”
Laura Waterfield stated: “Education and support for breast feeding is badly needed. Not just for mum but her support network too. It takes a good supportive family for mum to be able to breast feed and not think it’s going wrong when it’s normal breast feeding behaviour.”
Toni Burgum wrote: “It’s not shaming bottle feeders at all. It’s stating the truth that is it.”
Amanda Farrow said: “I bottle fed both of my children and continue to feed my baby by a bottle they are both fine!”
Sally Hart wrote: “How will breastfeeding ever be normalised, community knowledge built and professional support networks grown for those who want to breastfeed if we never talk about breast feeding for fear of people feeling shamed?”
Megan Thomas said: “Everyone getting so offended over a statistical fact. Mention breastfeeding which is proven to be superior to formula as its more than food, provides antibodies, and reduces risk of breast cancer in the mother.”
Karlena Ward stated: “Its not shaming bottle feeders. It’s a fact. People need to be better supported and more women would probably try breastfeeding. Nothing wrong with bottle feeding but breast is nutritionally better for baby so should be the go to if possible.”