Parents, carers and health professionals attend nutrition and breastfeeding event

Councillor Sue McDonald is pictured with partners at the Starting Off Well event.

Plymouth is hosting an event today, Tuesday 3 July, to celebrate breastfeeding and promote good nutrition and health in the first year of life.

The ‘Starting Off Well’ event is taking place at the Guildhall and has speakers from Plymouth City Council, Livewell Southwest, University of Plymouth and First Steps Nutrition Trust, as well as local breastfeeding peer support worker Emily Wilkins, who is pictured at the event with her son Reed. Around 100 people are attending the event.

Councillor Sue McDonald, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, who launched the event, said: “We’re committed to improving health for babies and children in Plymouth and I’m delighted we’ve been able to host this event. We are particularly pleased to welcome First Steps Nutrition Trust to the event, which is the first of its kind in Plymouth.

“There is a wealth of evidence to show that breastfeeding is really good for both mums and babies and it’s important that we do all we can to try and improve breastfeeding rates in the city.

“From improved bonding between mum and baby to a better immune system for your baby, there are so many benefits to breastfeeding your child, though we know it is not always easy for everyone and also want to highlight to new mums and other carers the support that is available through local health visitors and children’s centres, for example.”

Dr Helen Crawley, founder of First Steps Nutrition Trust who was among the guest speakers, said: “I’m very pleased to be able to come here today to highlight the importance of infant feeding. It’s great to see so much enthusiasm in the South West for improving the life of families.”

Jane Bullard, Health Improvement Manager for Livewell Southwest, said: “It’s a fantastic event and the first time this has been done in Plymouth. It’s amazing to bring together all the different partners and great to welcome some local mums here. Don’t forget you can find out about local breastfeeding support in Plymouth on the Latch On website

Dr Alyson Norman from University of Plymouth said: “I came to the event to talk about research that has been done on breastfeeding and the wider psycho-social effects. Breastfeeding is positive and important, but healthcare professionals need to give consistent care of new mums who are breastfeeding and be aware of the pressure and the negative impact felt when people are unable to breastfeed.”

More information on breastfeeding is on the NHS website 

Find out more about First Steps Nutrition Trust here