Supporting breastfeeding

We aim to support all women who choose to breastfeed. This guide explains how you can help and why that is important.

We also recognise that some women choose not to breastfeed (and that some are unable to), or that they may not receive the right support or information to do so.

What is our policy about breastfeeding in Southampton?

As part of our ambition to make Southampton a child friendly city, as a council, we have set out our Infant Feeding policy to ensure staff, customers and visitors are encouraged and welcomed to breastfeed in Southampton and support informed choice with the belief that every child has the right to the best start in life.

To ensure everyone has access to evidence-based information about feeding their baby, Southampton City Council supports the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative and adheres to the World Health Organisation Code of Marketing of Breast milk Substitutes (an international health policy framework to regulate the marketing of breast milk substitutes in order to protect breastfeeding). UNICEF Baby Friendly works with hospital and community health services, children’s centres and universities to support and encourage breastfeeding and early relationship building.

Why is breastfeeding so important?

Breastfeeding one of the most effective ways to ensure good nutrition, helping protect children against disease. Breastfeeding also supports healthy brain development and contributes to a reduction in infant mortality.

Breastfeeding is also associated with the development of healthy attachment relationships between mothers and babies. This leads to improved long term emotional and mental well-being, social development and ‘school readiness’.

View the NHS Choices webpage on the benefits of breastfeeding.

How can everyone support breastfeeding in Southampton?

It’s easy! Everyone working in Southampton has a part to play in supporting mums to breastfeed when this is what they have chosen to do. This may be in supporting a colleague who is returning to work by providing a private place to express milk or ensuring public places have somewhere comfortable for women to breastfeed. We can all make a difference to improving understanding and perception of breastfeeding by normalising it within the workplace and community and by being Breastfeeding Friendly.

One way of doing this is for services, shops, restaurants and other businesses to demonstrate that they are committed to being Breastfeeding Friendly by displaying signage to reflect this.