Orchard Nursery is one of the first Early Learning Centres in North Lanarkshire to receive Breastfeeding Friendly Accreditation, recognising its commitment to giving young people the best start in life and the pathway to a healthy future.
As an accredited Early Learning Centre, staff completed training - including one member designated ‘breastfeeding champion’, a new breastfeeding policy was developed and rolled out and facilities were put in place to help support breastfeeding mums and their families.
Breastfeeding champion, Heather McKendrick, plays a key role in ensuring the breastfeeding friendly message is delivered. And her work has involved ensuring suitable space is available for mums to breastfeed and to store and express milk; rolling out a breastfeeding friendly policy across the learning facility, including new resources such as books and toys which convey the breastfeeding message and making staff aware of the flexibility in place to allow them to continue breastfeeding on their return to work from maternity leave.
Heather believes the training she’s completed will have a positive impact on the nursery families and support informed choices in relation to infant feeding.
Throughout the accreditation process staff were supported by Louise James, Health Improvement Practitioner, Maternal and Infant Nutrition, who commended the team’s hard work. She was particularly impressed with the new breastfeeding policy and how this was implemented across the nursery, primary and the Language Communication Support Campus.
Almost 7% of our education settings now have a nominated ‘breastfeeding champion’ and this action is being rolled out across nursery, primary and secondary establishments.
Helen Mackenzie, Headteacher, said: “Education is key to changing the culture of breastfeeding and, from an early age, we’re supporting the breastfeeding friendly message, not just within our nursery but across primary and high school in health and wellbeing aspects of the curriculum.
“Staff are passionate about the breastfeeding friendly message and worked hard to successfully complete their training to allow them to pass on their knowledge and provide support to mums, staff and families using our facility. I’m absolutely delighted to receive this accreditation and proud that we are championing breastfeeding.”
North Lanarkshire Council is working towards becoming a breastfeeding friendly council and is delivering an action plan to drive a shift in culture change to improve breastfeeding rates. Fifty percent of mums choose to breastfeed at birth, with 1 in 3 continuing after 6-8 weeks. Breastfeeding delivers so many health benefits to both mum and baby and is crucial to the overall strategy of improving Scotland’s long-term health.
Councillor Lisa Stubbs, Early Years and Older People’s Champion, added: “It was great to visit the nursery and see first-hand the resources and facilities on offer and hear from the staff about their experiences. North Lanarkshire Council welcomes breastfeeding in all its facilities and is committed to working with partners to improving breastfeeding rates by increasing breastfeeding facilities, making these more accessible and normalising breastfeeding.
“By working with our partners and local communities, we aim to make North Lanarkshire a supportive and welcoming place where new mums breastfeeding feel comfortable and where our young people can look forward to a healthy future.”