In a joint initiative between Jersey’s Government and Family Nursing and Home Care to make Jersey more breastfeeding friendly, businesses are being asked to join the Jersey Breastfeeds initiative and commit to offering baby changing facilities and comfortable spaces for mothers to breastfeed their children.
The Jersey Breastfeeds initiative is being launched as part of Breastfeeding Awareness week (1st – 7th August) and businesses that sign up in support of the initiative will receive physical and digital assets to advertise themselves as breastfeeding friendly. They are also being encouraged to offer an incentive to mothers choosing to breastfeed their baby at listed breast-feeding friendly businesses on Wednesday 2nd August, which will coincide with an event being held in the Royal Square.
Deputy Raluca Kovacs, Breastfeeding Guardian for Jersey, Chair of UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative Jersey and Deputy of St Saviour said: “I would really like businesses to sign-up in support of this new initiative, which I am leading as Breastfeeding Guardian for Jersey.
“We have a lot of businesses that already provide these facilities and understand the value that new parents and families have as consumers, but for those parents looking to find a welcoming location to comfortably feed or change their children, it can be difficult to know where to go.
“Jersey holds levels of accreditation from the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI), which is based on a set of interlinking standards for maternity, health visiting, neonatal and children’s centres services. To be truly baby-friendly, I believe that the whole Island has a role to play which is why we’ve launched the Jersey Breastfeeds initiative and why I’m asking businesses to join us.”
Debra Hennessy, BFI Breastfeeding Specialist Health Visitor, Family Nursing and Home Care, and local lead for the UNICEF BFI said: “Parents want to give their babies the best start in life and there are many benefits from breastfeeding for both mum and baby.
“For a new breastfeeding mother, having the support of family, friends and the wider community can make a huge difference to their feeding journey and impact their choice to continue to feed for the long term. Local businesses can play a pivotal role in making new mums feel welcome, safe and supported to feed their babies when out and about. The positive effect this has on maternal and infant mental health, as well as improved health outcomes for the most vulnerable members of our community cannot be overstated.
“With both FNHC and HCS holding levels of accreditation from the UNICEF BFI we are now able to provide more support than ever for parents who are able to and choose to breastfeed.
“We know from the Births and Breastfeeding Profile 2022, which was published in March, that 65% of mothers were breastfeeding at six to eight weeks after birth. This is the highest recorded percentage between 2011 and 2022.
“I really believe that by spreading the Jersey Breastfeeds message, we can continue to see an improvement in breastfeeding rates by providing early education, getting breastfeeding off to a good start, supporting women to feed for as long as they wish and working in partnership with the wider community providing welcoming, safe, comfortable spaces.”