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National Breastfeeding Awareness Week in Lanarkshire

Written by Craig Mackay.
Published at 11:44 GMT on Thursday, July 11th, 2013.

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East Kilbride Shopping Centre welcomed dozens of mothers through their doors to mark national Breastfeeding Awareness Week.

The event, which was organised by the Lanarkshire Breastfeeding Initiative (LBI) and supported by NHS Lanarkshire, was designed to help mums feel comfortable and confident about being able to breastfeed in public areas.

One of the organisers of the event, Jacqueline Smith, an NHS Lanarkshire Breastfeeding Support Assistant and secretary of the LBI said: “One of the reasons many mums give for stopping, or indeed for not choosing to breastfeed at all, is that they feel they cannot breastfeed when they are out and about.

“We want to support mums which was why we decided to mark national Breastfeeding Awareness Week by inviting mums, through our LBI Facebook page, to attend the shopping centre en mass and encourage them to breastfeed in public.

“In doing so we want to show that breastfeeding is a totally natural, healthy and normal way of feeding babies and women should not be ashamed to breastfeed in public. Mums should feel proud of their decision to breastfeed and know that help is available from their midwives, health visitors and volunteer peer supporters from Community Mothers."

Mothers in Scotland have a legal right to breastfeed their baby anywhere children are normally allowed to be.

There are a whole range of benefits associated with breastfeeding for babies and mums. 

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For babies the main benefits are they are less likely to develop infections, allergies, eczema, childhood diabetes and childhood obesity.

Mums also benefit from breastfeeding as they have a lower risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer and hip fractures in later life. Another plus is breastfeeding can help mums return to their pre-pregnancy weight.

Ian McLelland, Centre Director at the East Kilbride Shopping Centre, said: 'We are a family friendly centre and we're fully supportive of mums who make the decision to breastfeed. We consider all our public spaces appropriate for breastfeeding and our retailers are equally supportive.

“However if mums would rather breastfeed their child in private we also have dedicated facilities.”

East Kilbride Shopping Centre is one of over 50 businesses in the East Kilbride and Strathaven areas that have signed up to NHS Lanarkshire’s Breastfeeding Friendly Campaign.

Those businesses display ‘Breastfeeding Friendly’ window awards which highlight to mums that they are especially welcome to breastfeed on their premises.

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