Agenda item

Breastfeeding-friendly Borough

Sam Longley, Public Health Specialist, to present


Consideration was given to paper presented by Sam Longley, Public Health Specialist in respect of Rotherham Breastfeeding Friendly Borough.


Rotherham Council formally adopted the Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight in January 2020. A key action within the declaration referred to creating supportive environments for all children, young people and parents by:


·       promoting good relationships with food and physical activity from an early age, through childhood and into teenage years

·       promoting healthy eating and activity during pregnancy

·       creating supportive environments to help normalise breastfeeding


In pursuit of that ambition, in June 2022 a briefing paper was presented to the Health and Wellbeing Board proposing adoption of a Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council Breastfeeding Friendly Borough Declaration. This was agreed in principle by the Board.


The declaration articulated the commitment of the Council, the Health and Wellbeing Board and key partner organisations to support ongoing change to enable families to make the right choice for them, with appropriate support.


The briefing set out the progress made over the last year in respect of the following:


Breast feeding rates: whilst demonstrating an improvement from 34.2% in 2020/21 to 37.5%.  The current breastfeeding prevalence at 6-8 weeks was significantly worse than the England average of 49.2%, although relative performance against its comparator group had improved.


Informed and supported choice: Rotherham was promoting a compassionate approach to health behaviour choice to ensure that infant feeding choices were well informed and supported without stigma or blame.


Breastfeeding and climate change: it was outlined that increases to breastfeeding rate also had the potential to reduce environmental costs that arise from infant formula production and administration.


Breastfeeding and the cost of living:it was estimated that bottle feeding was estimated to cost on average between £50 and £100 per month, meaning that exclusive breastfeeding for the UNICEF recommended six months was likely to offer considerable financial savings.


Actions since June 2022


·       Creation of the Rotherham Breastfeeding Borough Forum, with membership from a variety of stakeholders in Rotherham which includes VCS, 0-19 service, midwifery, RMBC HR, RMBC public health team and RMBC Children and Young Peoples Service.

·       The refresh of the RMBC HR Infant Feeding Policy.

·       RMBC premises had been identified to enable staff and/or public to be supported to breast feed.  

·       A plan had been developed for RMBC staff to receive training regarding Making Every Contact Count and Breastfeeding. This would be shared to all Health and Well-being Board partner organisations and wider business in Rotherham.

·       Resources developed with TRFT infant feeding team to support wider Rotherham businesses to become Breastfeeding Friendly.

·       Specialist Community Public Health team for 0-19 years (25 SEND) comprising of Health Visitors (HV), School Nurses (SN) delivering the Healthy Child Programme have been recommissioned.

·       A “Rotherham backs breastfeeding” campaign had been designed by the Community Infant Feeding team. A launch event was planned for Summer 2023.

·       Children’s Centres/ Family Hubs were to begin the process of UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative accreditation.

·       Additional funding received via the Family Hub specific for an Infant Feeding Co-ordinator to enhance the support offer to families for Infant feeding.

·       LA communication plan completed.

·       Public Health was also pursuing this agenda at ICB level, as part of the Local Maternity Network and System (LMNS), which included recent work on breastfeeding and climate change and the cost of living.


Next steps included

·       delivery of MEC infant feeding sessions,

·       creation and distribution of a business pack created alongside the ‘Rotherham Backs Breastfeeding’ campaign to identify breastfeeding friendly business and venues in Rotherham,

·       family hub development and

·       enhanced offer of peer support volunteers, opportunities to promote the Rotherham Breastfeeding Friendly Borough will be sought at community events such as Rotherham Show and via the Start For Life Offer. 




That the Health and Wellbeing Board:


1.    Notes the 3.27% increase in Rotherham’s 6-8 week Breastfeeding rate and the progress made during the last year to become a Breastfeeding Friendly Borough

2.    Reaffirms its support for the ambition for Rotherham to become a breastfeeding friendly borough by signing the declaration on behalf of its member organisations.

3.    Agrees a 12-month period for update.


Supporting documents: